2017 is not the time to blink

Prose

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The Boy From Aleppo Who Painted The War by Sumia Sukkar Adam is a 14-year-old boy with Asperger Syndrome who attempts to understand the Syrian conflict and its effect on his life by painting his feelings. Yasmine, his beautiful older sister, devotes herself to him, but has to cope with her own traumas when she is taken by soldiers.

Their three brothers also struggle – on whether or not to take sides and the consequences of their eventual choices. “I have the urge to paint and I can already see the painting in my head. Two young boys lying in the water with their bodies spread open, free, but their faces disfigured, burnt. It would be a black-and-white painting with the faces a spectrum of colours. It’s going to be horrible and beautiful all at the same time.” The Boy From Aleppo Who Painted the War is the powerful and deeply moving debut novel from 21-year- old Sumia Sukkar.

It chronicles the intimate sufferings of a family in the midst of civil war with uncommon compassion, wit and imaginative force. Told mainly from a challenged young man’s perspective, it achieves the timeless dignity of a true report from an unpredictable and frightening place. It will take its place among the list of necessary books to read about how we preserve love and beauty during brutal times.

The story is sure to become a beloved classic, as it follows in the footsteps of other novels touching on the lives of young people during war. “Writing my timely novel was a way for me to express my grief towards the tragedies of what's happening in my country,” says Sumia. “Readers will find it interesting to experience the traumatising events of war through the eyes of an innocent young autistic boy who has lived his whole life completely dependant on his family and then having to be separated from them. It contains a blend of political events, emotional drive and Arabian tradition.”

Sumia Sukkar is of Syrian and Algerian origin, but grew up in London. She has a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing from Kingston University. This is her debut novel. Follow Sumia on Twitter: @SumiaSukkar.  She is available for interview and comment - please contact info@eyewearpublishing.com for more information.

The Boy Who Painted The War is published by Eyewear Publishing in the UK in November 2013 ISBN: 9781908998309, Hb, RRP: £12.99

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