I Killed My Mother in Order to Live

May Menassa

I Killed My Mother in Order to Live focuses on Rasha, who lives in the isolation of autism. She draws faces without eyes, trees without leaves and houses with no windows. On overhearing that her mother Thuraya died from a haemorrhage in childbirth with her and her twin, she suffers trauma she cannot express in words or tears. Her dark drawings become deep red, and her obsession with this colour grows. She travels to an autism treatment centre in Belgium, where her former drawing book becomes a notebook filled with analysis of her ‘crime’. A theatre director, Diya’ Al-‘Ajami, who visits the centre, reads the book and tries to draw Rasha out of her closed world through drama. As she inhabits other people, the hope is she will find new life for herself.  


Riyad al-Rayyes


2019 Longlist