Weidenfeld & Nicolson is publishing Syria: Recipes from Home to help support artistic projects with Syrian women refugees.
Its authors Dina Mousawi and Itab Azzam (pictured) throw a spotlight on what the publisher hails "one of the world’s greatest food cultures". The collection is derived from time the authors spent with Syrian refugees in Lebanon while working on a theatre project, where they spent months cooking with the women, learning their recipes and listening to their stories of home. Surprising dishes, all made from "familiar" ingredients, include hot yoghurt soup with turmeric and cherry meatballs.
The authors described the book as a "beautiful artefact and a keepsake of all that is best about Syria", and a portion of the profits from the book will go towards humanitarian relief charity the Hands Up Foundation.
The book will be fully illustrated with food photography by Liz and Max Haraala Hamilton, as well as photographs taken by the authors in Syria and Lebanon. It publishes as a hardback and e-book (£25/£12.99) on 11th May 2017.
Bea Hemming, publishing director, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, bought world rights for the book from the authors.
Azzam was born in Swaida, Syria, and lived in Damascus until 2011, when she moved to the UK. A filmmaker and theatre producer, she was part of the team behind BBC Four’s "Syrian School" and an upcoming BBC Two documentary following refugees’ perilous journeys into Europe. Mousawi is a British-Iraqi actress, grew up in Baghdad, and whose performing experience spans theatre, film and television, as actor and presenter.