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Contemporary Fiction: IWD!

It's International Women's Day hunnies, and rather than whacking a random sale on and using it to try and sell you something, we're humbly proffering some of our top recommendations for contemporary fiction by women from around the world 🌍

These nine titles represent writing by Scottish, American, Danish, German and Zimbabwean writers. In no particular order they are:

Trumpet by Jackie Kay

Kay's debut novel, Trumpet relates the life story of the fictional jazz musician, Joss Moody. After his death, it is discovered that Moody was assigned female at birth. The ensuing bewildered outrage of their adopted son brings the press to the doorstep and sends his grieving mother to the sanctuary of a remote Scottish village. Published in 1998, Trumpet explores race, gender, and what can happen when a private life explodes into the public.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Emira is apprehended at the supermarket for 'kidnapping' a white child who she is actually babysitting. Her employer, a feminist blogger, has good intentions and tries to help, but the ensuing chaos and the two women's complex relationship holds a mirror up to the complex dynamics of privilege and prejudice in 21st century America.

Best of Friends by Kamila Shamsie

Maryam takes it for granted that she will stay in Karachi and inherit the family business. Zahra hides her dreams: to move abroad. We first meet the two as self-conscious teenagers in Pakistan. 30 years later, they are both living out middle-class lives in North London. Best of Friends is a novel about Britain today, about power and how we use it, and about the beauty, profundity and complexity of friendships.

Memorial, 29 June by Tine Hœg

This Danish author is known for her insight and precision. This wry, haunting and very funny novel about the urge to create, about grief and the intensity of life in your 20s. It speaks to the question, the regret and the disappointment of who one becomes versus who one expected to be.

Siblings by Brigitte Reimann

Reimann lived in the GDR and was herself a committed socialist, but never joined the party. This novel is youthful and steamy, but filled with meditation on political ideology.

Elisabeth, a painter, sees post-war East Germany as an opportunity to build a glorious, egalitarian socialist paradise. Her brother Uli sees it as a place characterised by tyranny and oppression. This is considered a classic of GDR literature - written in 1963 - but the English translation was only published last month.

Rotten Row by Petina Gappah

This short story collection vividly portrays everyday scenes (in the hairdresser's, the bus) where law enforcement is involved (Gappah is a lawyer as well as a writer). She writes with perceptiveness, humour, and tenderness which brings contemporary Zimbabwe to life.

Mona by Pola Oloixarac

Mona is a cynical stoner nominated for 'the most important literary award in Europe'. She leaves for a small village in Sweden, to rub shoulders with her contemporaries (or perhaps competitors) from around the world. A scathing depiction of the literary elite ensues.

Three Rooms by Jo Hamya

For anyone living with housemates, working to pay their rent and struggling to conceive of a fulfilling job.

Born in 1997, who could be better placed than Jo Hamya to write about the precarity of housing, of work, and the bleak, post-Brexit political atmosphere that the youngest members of Gen Z are facing right now? Her unnamed protagonists struggles to get by in Oxford and London, working as a poorly paid research assistant and then copy editor. Three Rooms explores the relationship between art, money and privilege in the context of 2018 London.

Bunny by Mona Awad

The dark side of female friendship. Samantha is an outsider in her small, selective MFA program at Warren University. At first utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort - a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other 'Bunny' - when the Bunnies issue her an invite, Samantha finds herself drawn into their bizarre, nightmarish world.

All these and lots more incredible literature is available at Morocco Bound!


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