Taking us from Afghanistan to Australia, this is an evocative and beautifully written debut novel about tradition, family, war and displacement. Shortlisted for the 2018 Richell Prize it heralds an exciting new Australian literary voice.
'The women arrive first, on an afternoon like any other, when Henna is safely enclosed behind her desk at school. They come to start a conversation that is both taboo and a normal part of life. A small, intimate group . . . precious stones decorate their necks and fingers, the sond, embroidery, on their pantaloons and translucent veils catches the afternoon light. Their eyebrows are groomed into elegant curves. They float on a cloud of perfume to Henna's family home.'
A deeply moving novel about tradition, love, war and the sorrow & hope exile will bring.
Tracing the lives of three young people, Henna, her brother Hamid, and a man who will become her husband, Rahim, this lyrical and evocative story reveals the political entanglements and family dynamics that are heightened and shattered by conflict. Taking us from the streets of Herat in the 1970s, invaded by Soviet forces, to India in the 1980s and then to the suburbs of Sydney, Pomegranate & Fig vividly illuminates the disruption, displacement and tragedy that war unleashes.
Shortlisted for the Richell Prize, this is an unforgettable debut that heralds an exciting new Australian literary voice.
'A moving and evocative page-turner' The Guardian
'Heartwarming and uplifting . . . This is a story about love and loss, the strength of family bonds in wartime, and learning to call a new place home' Readings
'An unforgettable tale . . . a must-read story of hope, brimming with pride and dignity too' Courier Mail
'Vividly illuminates the disruption, displacement and tragedy war unleashes' The New Daily
Zaheda Ghani and her family arrived in Australia from Afghanistan as refugees in the 1980s. At nine years old Zaheda, also known as Zoe, handwrote her first novel using a HB pencil, in a scented diary with a lock and key. The heart of what she wrote back then developed over many years to become Pomegranate & Fig, which was shortlisted for the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers. Zaheda was also a recipient of the Western Sydney Emerging Writers Fellowship. Zaheda served on the board of Australia for UNHCR, the private sector partner of the UN Refugee Agency from 2017 to 2021. She is now an Ambassador for Australia for UNHCR and has an active interest in UNHCR's humanitarian work. Zaheda lives in Sydney with her husband.