Jonathan Cape has signed Enter Ghost, the second novel from Betty Trask Prize-winning author Isabella Hammad.
Publishing director Michal Shavit acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Georgia Garrett at RCW. North American rights have been sold to Elisabeth Schmitz at Grove Atlantic by Melanie Jackson. The novel is set for publication in spring 2023.
It is the second novel following the Betty Trask Prize-winning The Parisian (Jonathan Cape) which was published in 2019.
Enter Ghost follows Sonia Nasir, a 39-year-old actress living in London who has suffered a personal crisis. The synopsis reads: “Feeling lost and disillusioned, she returns to stay with her sister in Haifa, where their father was born in 1947 before the establishment of Israel. There, she finds herself drawn into the orbit of Mariam Mansour, a charismatic theatre director who is putting on a production of Hamlet in the West Bank. Sonia is persuaded to play Gertrude, while Hamlet will be played by Wael Hejazi, a dazzling young pop-star from a refugee camp near Ramallah.”
Hammad was born in London. Her writing has appeared in the Paris Review and the New York Times among others. She was awarded the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction and a 2019 O Henry Prize. Her first novel, The Parisian, won a Palestine Book Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and a Betty Trask Award from the Society of Authors.
She was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree, and has received literary fellowships from the artist's residency programme MacDowell and the Lannan Foundation in America.
Shavit said: “Isabella Hammad is one of the most exciting voices writing today. Enter Ghost is at once a love letter to Palestine and its people, as well as a beautiful and moving novel about freedom and the power of art as both an act of unity and resistance. The realities of life under Occupation, the brutality of the Israeli State, and the power of human connection in the face of adversity, is beautifully realised in this exceptional and important novel”.
Hammad commented: “I'm so delighted to be continuing my relationship with Cape with the publication of my new novel. They have been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about my writing and I feel honoured to have the opportunity to work again with such a brilliant publishing team."