Interview with longlisted author Azher Jerjees


  • When did you begin writing The Stone of Happiness and where did the inspiration for it come from?

I began writing the novel in the winter of 2019. I can’t say exactly what inspired it. But the image of children exposed to systematic bullying and mockery, and the broken and distorted spirits which are the result, has always had an effect on me and made me think and write about them.


  • Did the novel take a long time to write? And where were you when you finished it?

The idea of the novel has been on my agenda for a long time. But I postponed working on it until I had finished preparing the source materials and completing my research. I can say that the real writing of The Stone of Happiness took almost three years. I began it where I live, in Norway, and finished it in Baghdad, where most of the events of the novel take place. 


Do you have your writing rituals?

I don’t have special rituals, because progressing with the novel and the anxiety I feel about the fates of my protagonists make me forget about having any regular, daily habits. Perhaps sitting in a café and listening to music from the East is my one fixed habit when writing.


What is your next literary project after this novel?

There is a novel on the horizon. It revolves around an Arab emigrant who works with the dead.