From the International Prize for Arabic Fiction official biography and book description:

Muna al-Sheemi is an Egyptian writer, born in 1968. She obtained a B.A. in Egyptian Archaeology from Cairo University in 1990, and has since worked as a history teacher. She has published a number of articles and short stories in Egyptian and Arab magazines and newspapers such as Al-Watan and Akhbar al-Adab and the Kuwaiti magazine, Al-Arabi. She is the author of three collections of short stories and five novels, which have won several prizes. These include the Egyptian General Authority for Cultural Palaces Prize in 2004 for her novel A Colour Runaway from the Rainbow (2003) and the Story Club Prize of 2004 for her novel The Weightier Scale (2008). In 2014, she won a BBC radio prize for her short story Jangling of the Bracelets.

The Size of a Grape unfolds during Ramadan in 2012 when, at the International Medical Centre in Cairo, 15-year-old Ziyad is found to have a brain tumour ‘the size of a grape’. Ziyad’s treatment coincides with the arrival of the former President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, who has been transferred to the centre under the order of his judge.

Ziyad’s mother is shaken by her son’s illness and it prompts her to review her life and her relationships, only to find they were not as they should have been. The novel describes the state of oppressed women in a patriarchal society, who still possess the strength to confront both themselves and others in order to recover their sense of self-worth and dignity.


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