Booker Prize finalist Nadifa Mohamed's novel revisits Somali seaman's fate in 1950s' Wales

Booker Prize finalist Nadifa Mohamed's latest book, "The Fortune Men."
Booker Prize finalist Nadifa Mohamed's latest book, "The Fortune Men."
Author photo by Sean and Seng | Bookcover courtesy of publisher

It took many decades after Mahmood Mattan’s execution at Cardiff Prison in Wales for his name to be cleared over a killing he did not commit.

Booker Prize finalist Nadifa Mohamed remembers seeing his picture in the newspaper, and she later learned that Mattan, a young Somali sailor, knew her father.

Mattan’s story — and the life he led before his hanging — is at the center of Mohamed’s novel, “The Fortune Men.”

Host Kerri Miller talked with Mohamed about her historical novel, her family’s history and about the miscarriage of justice during this latest Big Books and Big Ideas show.


  • Nadifa Mohamed’s new book is “The Fortune Men.” She is also the author “Black Mamba Boy” and “The Orchard of Lost Souls.”

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