Written by

(حزامة حبايب)
A tragic day in the life of a Palestinian woman refugee

The novel depicts several Palestinian women who experience tragic love stories under difficult circumstances in Baq’a refugee camp in Jordan. The main character, Hawwa, meets Qamar, a seamstress, and becomes her protégé. In addition to sewing, Qamar teaches Hawwa about life. Unlike most other Arabic novels relating to Palestine, Velvet contains very few Palestinian political or patriotic themes. Rather, the narrative focuses on the human dimensions of everyday life for Palestinians — particularly women — with little or no attention to politics. 

Approximate number of pages: 361 p.

Foreign rights: contact the author


Reasons to publish this book

A novel that will introduce European readers to the life of ordinary Palestinians away from political rhetoric. It gives an intimate look at the lives of Palestinians in refugee camps and in the diaspora. European readers will appreciate the ways in which this novel, set in a refugee camp, explores the lives of women with stories of resilience and defiance.


  • English


    by Kay Heikkinen

    published as

    Velvet in Egypt in 2019 by Hoopoe Fiction


The novel should not be missed, in Arabic or in English, for its sentences crammed to the brim with life in a refugee camp, for its sophisticated picking apart of narrative tropes about motherhood and social mobility, and for the rollercoaster-like pleasure of Hawwa’s ups and downs by Words without Borders, October 2019

This is Huzama Habayeb’s third novel and marks a high point in her writing career by Banipal, 2019

رواية “مُخمَل”.. رحلة في المخيم الفلسطيني (in Arabic) by Al Jazeera, January 2016



Reviewed by Hiyem Cheurfa