JOE SACCO MEETS PERSEPOLIS IN THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL FROM A NEW INTERNATIONAL TALENT, HAMID SULAIMAN--WINNER ENGLISH PEN AWARD--It is spring 2012 and 40,000 people have died since the start of the Syrian Arab Spring. In the wake of this, Yasmine has set up a clandestine hospital in the north of the country. Her town is controlled by Assad’s brutal regime, but is relatively stable. However, as the months pass, the situation becomes increasingly complex and violent. Told in stark, beautiful black-and-white imagery, Freedom Hospital illuminates a complicated situation with gut-wrenching detail and very dark humor. The story of Syria is one of the most devastating narratives of our age and Freedom Hospital is an important and timely book from a new international talent.
Hamid Sulaiman is a Syrian refugee currently based in Paris. He was heavily involved in the Arab spring and spent time in prison, but managed to escape to Egypt before making his way to France. Freedom Hospital was published in France to wide acclaim. Hamid has exhibited his art in London where he was interviewed by the Guardian: “The brutal crackdown on Assad's opponents dominates the paintings of Hamid Sulaiman, from the town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border, who fled abroad in 2011 after being arrested several times for taking part in peaceful protests. On one canvas, Light after Dark (2012), abstract flesh-colored bodies huddle shackled and blindfolded in a basement corridor of the security police headquarters in Damascus, where the artist was once imprisoned. Now living in Paris, Sulaiman said the single shaft of light that illuminates the scene symbolizes the desperate hope prisoners cling to. ‘Hope of the light after of all this darkness is the thing that keeps you sane. I was not tortured but I saw people getting tortured and I heard their screams. I lost many friends under torture including my best friend, and I can feel their hope of the light even one moment before they died.’” After the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, a photo of him and his girlfriend kissing under a sign saying, “Love always wins,” went viral. Francesca Barrie is a translator from French and Italien. She studies at Oxford University and went on to complete an MA in French at University College London. Barrie was shortlisted for the Institut Francis's Young Translator of the Year prize. Her translation of Tiphaine Riviere's Notes on a Thesis, published in 2016, received rave reviews.
"With the intimacy of a person who has lived the tragedy himself but with the restraint of a true artist, Hamid Sulaiman tells a powerful tale of Syria's descent into cataclysm while reminding us of those still tending the seeds of the revolutionary spring." --Joe Sacco
"If you want insight into the complex situation in Syria, read this book. It provides a stark vision of life in a war zone but, like Freedom Hospital itself, it never loses hope." --Mary Talbot
"Hamid Sulaiman's shocking inside story of an ongoing people's revolution against one of the world's most brutal regimes is eye-opening, explosive and utterly necessary. The chiaroscuro-heavy artwork, more dark than light, seems drawn in Sulaiman's heart's blood." --Neel Mukherjee
"This eye-opening graphic novel is a powerful and moving introduction to the realities of the war in Syria. Sulaiman s stark black and white artwork brilliantly conveys the moral, political, and emotional shades of gray rarely shown on the news." --Stephen Collins