The Djinn in the Skull: Stories from hidden Morocco by Samantha Herron
Author Samantha Herron fell in love with Morocco many years ago. It led her to study Arabic and spend time living with a Berber family of former nomads in the Draa Valley on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Morocco.
She immersed herself in the language, culture and traditions of the country. Captivated by the ancient art of storytelling, which was alive and thriving amongst the community, she began to collect stories that she was hearing. She then found herself imagining and composing her own Moroccan stories.
This debut collection of her stories, all set in contemporary Morocco, takes the reader on a journey into the hearts and minds of ordinary Moroccans and offers a glimpse into life in this magical and ancient land. It is her first work of fiction.
Tahir Shah, author of ‘The Caliph’s House’ and ‘In Arabian Nights’, comments: ‘Samantha Herron has succeeded triumphantly in doing what many Occidental writers have failed in for centuries – showing Morocco from the inside out. The stories she has so eloquently told are part of the ‘real’ Morocco, a kingdom that is so often invisible to
visitors. This magical realm has traditionally been received orally, and not through written text. It exists, not in the grand touristic sites, but in the ancient fabric of places like the Draa Valley, from where her stories come. A wonderful collection, highly recommended.’
Tim Mackintosh-Smith, Arabist and author of ‘Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah’, comments: ‘Samantha Herron found some of her Moroccan stories ready-made. Others she imagined or dreamed. In size they are miniatures; but they all express big things on a small scale. Reading them is like peering through a
series of keyholes – and, each time, glimpsing something momentary but momentous, instants with life-long consequences. They will make you smile, and shiver. And they will tell you as much truth about their Moroccan setting as a shelf-full of ethnologies.’
Samantha Herron’s previous work includes the English and Arabic publication ‘Dardasha: Testimonies of Migration by Moroccan Women’ (Soul Bay Press 2011) which was produced in association with the Al Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre in London and featured at London’s Nour Festival 2013. She presented some of the stories from ‘The Djinnin the Skull: Stories from hidden Morocco’ as part of ‘The Storytelling Circle’ at Nour Festival 2014. This is her first work of fiction.
THE DJINN IN THE SKULL: STORIES FROM HIDDEN MOROCCO will be published on 23rd October 2015. She will be giving readings of her stories in London and Morocco in 2015 and 2016. Visit her website for more
Soul Bay Press is an independent publishing house based in London, Eastbourne and Sydney. It specialises in publishing both new work by emerging authors and old classics which are out of print or copyright.