is a British Palestinian writer of fiction who lives in London. Her writing is mainly set in the contemporary Middle East, but it doesn’t have to be. Recurring themes to date are idealism (however futile), placelessness, political engagement (or lack thereof) and the impact of social conformity on individuals.
Selma’s first novel, Out of It, was published by Bloomsbury in 2011 and 2012 (pbk). Out of It was positively reviewed in the UK, the US and the Middle East. It was nominated as a Guardian Book of the Year in 2011 and 2012 by Ahdaf Soueif and Dame Marina Warner respectively.
The Arabic edition, Gaze Tahta Al-Jild (Gaza Under The Skin) translated by Khulood Amr, was published by BQFP in August 2015. Italian and French editions were published in September 2017; Fuori da Gaza, Il Sirente (translated by Barbara Benini) and Gaza Dans la Peau, Éditions de L’Aube (trans. Benoîte Dauvergne) respectively. In May 2019, Selma won first prize for the Premio Opera Prima, as selected by high school students in Spoleto, Umbria, as the best first novel translated into Italian in the past three years. She won the prize jointly with the author Sumia Sukkar.
has also written and published numerous short stories with Granta, Wasafiri, Saqi, Telegram, International PEN and others. Several of her short stories have been nominated for awards and been viewed favourably by international panels of judges. She is a PEN and Pushcart Nominee.
has also produced numerous blogs and pieces of journalism for newspapers and magazines from The Guardian and the London Review of Books in the UK to GQ in India. Short pieces of her fiction and non fiction have appeared in numerous anthologies.
wrote the Imison Award nominated radio play produced by BBC Radio 4, The Brick (broadcast in January 2014) and a futuristic radio play, Sleep It Off, Dr. Schott (December, 2018, WDR, Germany) set in Gaza 2048.
regularly reviews works of fiction, films and plays about or by Palestinians for The Electronic Intifada and has appeared at national and international literary festivals from Ferrara and Guildford to Gaza and Jaipur and taught creative writing at schools and universities in the UK, France and the Middle East.
has also collaborated with film makers in the writing of feature films.
her work has been translated a number of languages including Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French.