Saddam Hussein Novella Coming Soon

The Novella Was Completed on the Eve of the 2003 Invasion

This December, if you’re in the UK and decide to do a little holiday shopping at your favorite local bookstore, you may very well come across one particularly shocking author in the new fiction section: Saddam Hussein.

Believe it or not, the former Iraqi dictator and war criminal wrote fiction, often under the pen name “the author.” The last of his known works — a novella alternately translated as Begone, Demons and Get Out, You Damned One — is set to be published in English this December by indie UK press Hesperus, which specializes in translated and out-of-print works. (The press gained notoriety last year for failing to pay royalties to Jonas Jonasson.)

According to The Guardian, Hussein’s novella “focuses on a tribe living by the Euphrates river 1,500 years ago which ousts an invading force.” A spokesperson for Hesperus subsequently described it as “a mix between Game of Thrones and the UK House of Cards-style fiction.”

In the past, Hussein’s work has not been received kindly by critics. In 2005, Hassan M. Fattah, a New York Times correspondent, described his novella as “a forgettable piece of pulp.” A 2011 Guardian review of another one of Hussein’s titles, Zabiba and the King, concluded: “Some critics have suggested that Zabiba and the King was ghostwritten. I doubt that: it is so poorly structured and dull that it has the whiff of dictatorial authenticity.”

The new book will be come out this December in order to “mark the 10th anniversary of [Hussein’s] execution.” So, if you’re looking for the strangest, most chilling stocking stuffer imaginable for that book lover in your life…

About the Author

More Like This

In ‘A Pure Heart,’ Two Egyptian Sisters Are Separated by a Bombing

Rajia Hassib on challenging the Western gaze, anti-Muslim prejudice and self-colonization

Aug 22 - Sunisa Manning

Borders Are Black Holes Where Ideas Go to Die

When border guards in the Middle East detained me for the books in my backpack, I realized that enforcing boundaries means controlling the flow of thought

Aug 8 - Gabriel M. Schivone

Where Is Revolution City?

Banipal Magazine recommends a story about a woman coming home to a place that has forgotten itself, by Hadiya Hussein

Jul 24 - Hadiya Hussein