A stunning rendering of present-day Palestine, Isabella Hammad’s Enter Ghost is a story of diaspora, displacement, and the connection to be found in family and shared resistance.

Timely, thoughtful, and passionate, this novel leaves us with an unforgettable story of artistry under occupation.

How can a production of Hamlet in the West Bank resonate with the residents’ existential issues? Enter Ghost is a beautiful, profound meditation on the role of art in our society and our lives.

Monica Ali

Enter Ghost

by Isabella Hammad

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Describe your book in one sentence as if you were telling a friend.

Sonia Nasir, an actress working in London, goes to visit her sister in Haifa and gets drawn into an Arabic-language production of Hamlet in the West Bank.

What inspired you to write your novel?

The relationships between performance, political protest, and power, as well as the particular history of theatre as a politicised art-form in Palestine. I was also attracted to the formal possibilities of writing a novel about putting on a play.

Which part of the book was the most fun to write? Which was the most challenging?

The penultimate performance was probably the most difficult and the most fun; at that point the play/script form, in which I wrote the rehearsal scenes, begins to mingle with the first person narrative voice, and I had to calibrate that mingling quite carefully.

If you could take one book to a desert island, what would it be and why?

The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard. A book that needs rereading anyway.

Where is your favourite place to write?

My desk … in silence.

If you hadn’t been a writer, what would you be doing now? Where would you be?

Probably teaching literature somewhere.