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The Clothesline Swing Longlisted for CBC Canada Reads

Posted: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 11:34am

Published by Nightwood Editions, The Clothesline Swing is a fictional journey through the troublesome aftermath of the Arab Spring. A former Syrian refugee himself, Ahmad Danny Ramadan tells the epic story of two lovers, anchored to the memory of a dying Syria. One is a Hakawati, a storyteller, who relays remembered fables to his dying partner: his childhood in Damascus, the cruelty he has endured for his sexuality, leaving home, war, and his fated meeting with his lover. Meanwhile Death himself shares the house with the two men, eavesdropping on their secrets as he awaits their final undoing.

The Clothesline Swing is Ramadan’s debut book in English; he has previously published two short story collections in Arabic. Ramadan is also an esteemed journalist, a celebrated public speaker and an LGBTQ-refugee activist, who has raised over $100,000 to support LGBTQ-identifying Syrian refugees. In 2016 he was selected as the Grand Marshal for the Vancouver Gay Pride Parade to celebrate those efforts.

Publisher’s Weekly praised The Clothesline Swing, saying, “While each story is autonomous, Ramadan’s delicate use of imagery links these narratives, allowing them to reverberate with meaning and emotion.” The Globe and Mail said of the book: “By turns sombre, fantastical, violent and tender, [The Clothesline Swing] is a gay son's conflicted love letter to Syria – a look on the present from a possible future.”

The Clothesline Swing was selected for the Toronto Star’s “Top Books of 2017,” the Globe and Mail’s “Best 100 Books of 2017” and CBC Book’s “95 Must-Read Books from 2017.”

Canada Reads is a "literary Survivor," with celebrity panelists each championing one of five books. Books are voted "off the bookshelf," one each day, until one book is chosen as the title the whole country should read.Since the first Canada Reads, every winning book has become a national bestseller and in recent years all five books have become bestsellers.

The Canada Reads panelists and the final five books will be announced Jan. 30, 2018. The debates will take place March 26-29, 2018, and will be broadcast on CBC Radio OneCBC and online at