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It is the summer of 1982 and Beirut is under siege. Eighteen-year-old Ivan's parents have just been evacuated from the city with other members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Ivan stays on, interpreting for international medical volunteers in Sabra refugee camp by day, getting stoned with them by night, and working undercover for the PLO. Hoping to get closer to Eli, a Norwegian physiotherapist, he helps her treat Youssef, a camp orphan disabled by a cluster bomb. An unexpected friendship develops between the three and things begin to look up - But events take a nasty turn when the president-elect is assassinated. The Israeli army enters Beirut and surrounds the camp, with Eli and Youssef trapped inside. What happens next makes international headlines and leaves Ivan scrabbling to salvage something from the chaos.
Mischa Hiller was born in England in 1962 and grew up in London, Dar es Salaam and Beirut. Sabra Zoo won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book Europe and South Asia. Mischa also won the 2009 European Independent Film Festival script competition for his adaptation of the book. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and children.
Winner of Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book - Eurasia 2010.