Atia Abawi: 'There were lifejackets everywhere. People died trying to live'

Atia Abawi: 'There were lifejackets everywhere. People died trying to live'

Her own experiences as a refugee did little to prepare Atia Abawi for the disturbing realities that greeted her when she travelled to Lesbos to research her new novel about people fleeing Syria

Atia Abawi, a young adult novelist, was working on a very different book when an epiphany occurred.

Sitting in her apartment with her young son, she was watching news reports of Syrian refugees on the deadly smuggling routes to Europe. Suddenly, she knew she had to write about that experience instead.

I was lucky that my parents made that hard decision. It wasn’t a decision about self, but to save the family

Related: I escaped war in Syria and am now free to dream – but other kids aren’t so lucky | Bilal Rwaeh

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