The Sea Cloak

The Sea Cloak is a collection of 11 stories by the author, journalist, and women’s rights campaigner, Nayrouz Qarmout. Drawing from her own experiences growing up in a Syrian refugee camp, as well as her current life in Gaza, these stories stitch together a patchwork of different perspectives into what it means to be a woman in Palestine today.

Whether following the daily struggles of orphaned children fighting to survive in the rubble of recent bombardments, or mapping the complex, cultural tensions between different generations of refugees in wider Gazan society, these stories offer rare insights into one of the most talked about, but least understood cities in the Middle East. Taken together, the collection affords us a local perspective on a global story, and it does so thanks to a cast of (predominantly female) characters whose vantage point is rooted, firmly, in that most cherished of things, the home. 

Translated from the Arabic by Perween Richards.


The bestselling book at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019!
One of Translated Lit's Most Anticipated Books of August 2019
Winner of The Herald's Angels Award at Edinburgh Internationl Book Festival 2018.
Nominated for Edinburgh Interational Book Festival's First Book Award 2018.
Winner of a PEN Translates! Award in 2017.
As featured in Issue Two of Extra Teeth
Praise for The Sea Cloak
'All the arts are close to us because they allow us to recontextualise, to understand where we are, what we are, who we are. The Sea Cloak by Nayrouz Qarmout re-contextualises things so we really understand the world from the point of view we always knew was there.' - Ali Smith
'Explosive, resonant images are conjured in Qarmout's confident, arresting voice.' - The Guardian
'Reading [The Sea Cloak] on the train to Edinburgh, [Ali] Smith said, had induced so many small intakes of breath in her - those shocks of recognition again - that her fellow passengers must have worried about her.' - Read The Scotsman review Nayrouz Qarmout at Edinburgh International Book Festival with Ali Smith, Karine Polwart and Val McDermid. 
Read what Nayrouz had to say on displacement and Palestinian identity in conversation with Karine Polwart, Ali Smith and Val McDermid at Edinburgh International Book Festival here.
'These stories give insights into life in Gaza, without melodrama or exaggeration, and in language that is clear and rich.' Brian Maye, The Irish Times
'Achieves what televised images and impartial newspaper reports cannot reach.' - Morning Star
'A delicate, heart-wrenching collection by a perceptive writer.' - Electronic Intifada
'The Sea Cloak seeks to humanise a conflict which often feels out of reach and brings home human stories which encourage re-finding an emotional connection to the land. Nayrouz's tender, moving and confrontational writing is a reminder that it's important to not just know but to feel.' - gal-dem
'The way Qarmout describes the ambience, environment, and day-to-day activities around each Gazan setting reminds us of the ever-realistic nature of these stories.' - The New Arab
'I write for everyone, regardless of their gender, and wherever they are.' Read an interview with Nayrouz Qarmout at Restless Magazine.
'The collection depicts the painful journey people go through in their search for safety, certainty, liberty at all times.' Read an interview with Nayrouz Qarmout at Caravel Magazine
'Qarmout's writing is like the sea itself, each paragraph and vignette enveloping the reader like the gentle swells of the ocean, growing more powerful with each ebb and flow.' - Pop Matters
'This is an absorbing collection... barely a hundred pages yet there's a depth emanating from it that a book three times the length might not possess.' - NB Magazine
'These emotional narrations are necessary... Qarmout's writing imparts what is missing in our learning about Palestine and Palestinians: the humanity that is so easily dismissed in favour of information that does more to alienate than foster a connection. - Middle East Monitor
'These stories give a human face to the murkiness of Middle East politics and left me with a feeling of empathy and compassion for the Palestinians...' - Reshma Ruia, Words of Colour
'Qarmout's writing has a wisdom and clarity, and a richness of expression that is both exciting and compelling... The Sea Cloak is indeed a quiet revolution' - Translating Women
'These are stories of the very real daily battles for women's rights, the demands for accountability, and the search for honesty and visibility... they are stories that bring us far closer to the real lives of Palestinians than ever a news report or a collection of data could.' - Books and Bao
'Impassioned and glorious, it is a stunning addition to the rapidly growing voice of Palestinian writers.' - STORGY
'The stories weave together a complex picture of Palestine, the crushing normality of drone strikes set against family trips to the beach... I genuinely cannot recommend this collection highly enough.' - The Literary Addict 
'Life is lived amid rubble and painful memories but also with an innate resilience...' - Arab News
'These stories are vibrant, and accesible, and their strengths lie in their simplicity.' - The Mancunion
'Nayrouz Qarmout manages to paint all that Palestine is in vivid, startling detail... this stark, candid collection of a society upended, shows more of the territory's everyday reality than a news article ever could.' - Reminders of the Changing Time
'It slowly allowed me to build a fuller picture of what I think of when I imagine Palestine and Gaza... It was intriguing, captivating, and just beautiful to read.' - Travels in Fiction
'The Sea Cloak & Other Stories will stay with me for a long time. It will prompt me to know more, to read more, to watch more, and to understand more about the Israel-Palestine conflict.' - The Hungry Reader
'Written in accessible language with skill and power that is reallty quite absorbing.' - Anne Cater
'The elegiac, emotional, at times even humorous title story sets the tone [for this collection], displaying remarkable stylistic maturity and a sense of narrative economy uncommon for a debut author.' - Yannis Kontos 
Read an interview with Nayrouz Qarmout by journalist Orsola Casagrande on Arablit
Read 'Pen and Notebook' excerpted on Palestine Chronicle.
Read 'The Anklet of Maioumas' excerpted at Singapore Unbound.
Read an article by Nayrouz on traveling from Gaza to the UK and her short stories at PEN Transmissions.

Read about Nayrouz’s struggle to cross the UK Border to attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival here

"I think that the UK's attitude towards immigration has changed in general.." Read more of Nayrouz on UK Immigration

Article by The Guardian on Nayrouz’s UK visa refusals to attend Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Stephanie Merritt writes on the importance and significance of Nayrouz’s visa struggle for The Pool.


Listen to an interview with translator Perween Richards on the Read Learn Live podcast


Short clip on Channel 4 News about Edinburgh-bound authors (including Nayrouz) facing visa problems.

Watch Nayrouz Qarmout speak to Esa Aldegheri at Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Watch Nayrouz Qarmout speak to Michael Hannigan and Mazen Maarouf at Cork International Short Story Festival. 

Closing remarks from Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Buy Hard Copy

Retail Price £9.99

Online Price £7.95

Buy the eBook

Book Details

22 Aug 2019

About the Author

Nayrouz Qarmout

Nayrouz Qarmout is a Palestinian writer and activist. Born in Damascus in 1984, as a Palestinian refugee, she returned to the Ga…
Read more