AAFSW cordially invites you to join us for a fascinating talk with Gina Wilkinson via Zoom from Australia about her book entitled “When the Apricots Bloom”. Gina will entertain us with stories of her mesmerizing live in Iraq, on Tuesday, June 3 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern standard Time.
Inspired by her experiences while in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, WHEN THE APRICOTS BLOOM by Gina Wilkinson (Kensington Books / on sale: February 2, 2021) is told through the eyes of three vastly different women in Iraq at the turn of the millennium. A secretary, an artist and a diplomat’s wife, each must confront the complexities of trust, friendship, and motherhood under a dictator and his ruthless secret police. It is a moving, compelling story, but I also feel it is an important book for people to read at this moment in time. The novel takes readers to a place more relatable and far different from what most Americans have seen on the news. It’s a book with the power – in a world of terrorism, Islamophobia, and hate – to look past stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims, and illustrate how most people, wherever they are, want the same thing.
We look forward to seeing you.
AAFSW Program Chair
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gina Wilkinson is an award-winning journalist, author, former foreign correspondent, and documentary maker who’s reported from some of the world’s most intriguing and perilous places for the BBC, NPR, ABC, and other renowned public broadcasters. During two decades living and working in hotspots across the globe, she spent more than a year in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein as a Diplomatic Spouse. At that time, Iraq was virtually sealed off from the outside world, and Gina lived under tight surveillance. One of her closest Iraqi friends even worked as a secret police informant, reporting on her every move, an experience that inspired her novel When the Apricots Bloom. Gina now works in international development, supporting efforts to end poverty in the developing world. She lives in Australia. Visit Gina Wilkinson online: www.GinaWilkinson.net
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Inspired by her own experiences stationed in Baghdad during Saddam Hussein’s rule, former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson’s evocative, suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women in Iraq at the turn of the millennium. A secretary, an artist and a diplomat’s wife, each must confront the complexities of trust, friendship, and motherhood under the rule of a dictator and his ruthless secret police…
At night, in Huda’s fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat—the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador’s wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenaged son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia if she refuses. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own.
Also fighting to keep her child safe is Rania, Huda’s former friend. As the women’s lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.