2021 Longlist

The Bird King


2021 Longlist

The Bird King is an epic journey set during the reign of the last Sultan in the Iberian Peninsula at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. It tells the story of Fatima, a concubine in the Royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Hassan has a secret – he can draw maps of places he has never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realising that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to rescue Hassan and escape the palace walls? As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

About the Author

Willow Wilson is the author of the acclaimed novel The Bird King(2019), co-creator of the Hugo and American Book Award-winning series Ms. Marvel (2013-2018), and has written for some of the world’s best-known superhero comic book series, including The X-MenSuperman, and Wonder Woman. Her first novel, Alif the Unseen, won the 2013 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, was a finalist for the Center For Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and was long-listed for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction. In 2015, she won the Graphic Literature Innovator Prize at the PEN America Literary Awards. Her work has been translated into over a dozen languages. She lives in Seattle.

Librarian’s Comments

We would like to nominate this book because it is exceptional. Slemani Public Library, Iraq

Willow Wilson


Grove / Atlantic


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