English-language Wales Book of the Year 2022 Winners
The winner of the English-language Wales Book of the Year Award 2022 is Nadifa Mohamed with her novel The Fortune Men
Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, petty criminal. He is a smooth-talker with rakish charm and an eye for a good game. He is many things, but he is not a murderer. So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn’t too worried. Since his Welsh wife Laura kicked him out for racking up debts he has wandered the streets more often, and there are witnesses who allegedly saw him enter the shop that night. But Mahmood has escaped worse scrapes, and he is innocent in this country where justice is served. Love lends him immunity too: the fierce love of Laura, who forgives his gambling in a heartbeat, and his children. It is only in the run-up to the trial, as the prospect of returning home dwindles, that it will dawn on Mahmood that he is in a fight for his life – against conspiracy, prejudice and cruelty – and that the truth may not be enough to save him.
Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa, Somaliland, in 1981 and moved to Britain at the age of four. Her first novel, Black Mamba Boy, won the Betty Trask Prize; it was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the PEN Open Book Award. Her second novel, Orchard of Lost Souls, won a Somerset Maugham Award and the Prix Albert Bernard. Nadifa Mohamed was selected for the Granta Best of Young British Novelists in 2013, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. The Fortune Men was shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize. Nadifa Mohamed lives in London.