Sulaiman Addonia

The Indigo Press is an independent publisher of contemporary fiction and non-fiction, based in London. Guided by a spirit of internationalism, feminism and social justice, we publish books to make readers see the world afresh, question their behaviour and beliefs, and imagine a better future.

Author photograph © Lyse Ishimwe

Sulaiman Addonia

Sulaiman Addonia is an Eritrean-Ethiopian-British novelist. He spent his early life in a refugee camp in Sudan, and his early teens in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He arrived in London as an unaccompanied minor without a word of English and went on to earn an MA in Development Studies. His first novel, The Consequences of Love, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. 

Sulaiman lives in Brussels, where he founded the Creative Writing Academy for Refugees & Asylum Seekers and the Asmara-Addis Literary Festival In Exile. In 2022 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Silence Is My Mother Tongue

In a time of war, what is the shape of love? 

Saba arrives in an East African refugee camp as a young girl, devastated to have been wrenched from school and forced to abandon her books as her family flees to safety. In this unfamiliar, crowded and often hostile community, she must carve out a new existence. As she struggles to maintain her sense of self, she remains fiercely protective of her mute brother, Hagos – each sibling resisting the roles gender and society assign. Through a cast of complex, beautifully drawn characters, Sulaiman Addonia questions what it means to be a man, to be a woman, to be an individual when circumstance has forced the loss of all that makes a home or a future.

Addonia has written an insider’s view of the textures of life in a refugee camp. Both intimate and epic, this subversive tale of transgression dissects society’s ability to wage war on its own women and explores the stories we must tell to survive in a broken, in hospitable environment.

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