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The National Interviews Sumia Sukkar, author of The Boy from Aleppo Who Painted the War

the boy from aleppoEarlier this year, The National’s John Everington interviewed British author Sumia Sukkar about her first published novel, The Boy from Aleppo Who Painted the War, which is distributed by Guernica Editions. Sukkar spoke about the experiences which influenced the story and about the development of the novel’s complex narrator.

Sukkar decided to make the narrator a child in order to  “intensify the story’s impact” and “convey the raw and vulgar state that Syria is in.”

“Originally in my head Adam started off as a normal child,” she says. “But I wanted to give him more of an edge as a narrator.

“Later I met the brother of a friend who had Asperger’s syndrome, and I thought: ‘That’s it!’ and it developed from there.”

She chose the name Adam “for its universal connotations, as a name used by all three Abrahamic faiths and a wide variety of cultures.”

The Boy from Aleppo Who Painted the War draws on first-hand experiences of Sukkar’s family and friends.

“I was in constant contact with my aunt in Damascus over Skype while I was writing the book. She kept telling me terrible stories of incidents that she’d witnessed. We also have family in Deraa, where so many tragedies have occurred.”

Sumia Sukkar is not optimistic about the future of Syria; however, “the resilience of Syria’s people in the face of unimaginable horrors ultimately gives her hope.”

“The people still have a strong religious sense, fasting, praying their daily prayers, and ultimately trusting in God and hoping for a better future. There’s still a fundamental goodness in the people despite all that’s happened to them.”

The Boy from Aleppo Who Painted the War has been dramatized as a radio play by the BBC.


To read the full interview, visit The National:

The Boy from Aleppo Who Painted the War is available for purchase on the Guernica Editions website:

Posted in Interviews.