The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Indie Books of the Month for June announced


The Booksellers Association has today announced Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth as Fiction Book of the Month for June, and Fight Back by A.M. Dassu as Children’s Book of the Month.  
Bitter Orange Tree, by International Man Booker Prize winner Jokha Alharthi, follows Omani student Zuhur as she reflects on her relationship with her late grandmother, who passed away shortly after her granddaughter went to Britain for university. It emerges that Zuhur’s grandmother is not a relation by blood, but instead by a stronger, emotional bond, as the story of Bint Amir’s challenging life entwines with Zuhur’s lonely present in an exploration of social status, desire and female agency. Bitter Orange Tree is published by Scribner on 9th June 2022, and is available to pre-order in bookshops now.
Jokha Alharthi said: “There is no pleasure quite like emerging from an independent bookshop with a recommendation – or a discovery – that you know you would not have made elsewhere. It is something I value here in Oman and I have happy memories of this from my time as a student in the UK too, and the freeing experience of the good bookstore is important the world over. Thank you, booksellers, for supporting Bitter Orange Tree, a novel about love and ambition, about longing and loss, which I hope you and your readers will enjoy.
Paul Sweetman, City Books, Hove and member of the Selection Panel commented: “Jokha Alharthi’s Bitter Orange Tree is her insightful new novel. A student from Oman sets out to integrate and find new friends at university in Britain, but she constantly revisits the past where memories of previous relationships dominate her thoughts and feelings.”
The Fiction Book of the Month submissions from publishers are read by a panel of booksellers who vote on each title. The BA then collates the votes and the title with the most votes becomes the Book of the Month. The panel this time comprised members of Red Lion Books, City Books, Hewson Books and Neverland Bookshop.
Fight Back by A.M. Dassu follows thirteen-year-old Midlands teenager Aaliyah as she faces racial tension following a terrorist attack at a local concert. Aaliyah decides to speak up and wear a hijab to show that she is proud of her identity, but when her right to do this at school is questioned, she discovers that she is not alone and must make a stand for all her peers who feel discriminated against for who they are. Fight Back is published by Scholastic on 2nd June 2022 and is available in bookshops now.
A.M. Dassu commented: “Independent bookshops are unique and incredibly important; they are at the heart of their communities and also have links to local schools. They not only sell books, they organise events, support authors wholeheartedly, and can be pivotal in increasing readership. I cherish the relationships I have with indie booksellers; they live and breathe books, and really care about getting books into the hands of readers. They’re not only important, they’re truly special! And I am blown away that my novel, Fight Back is Children’s Book of the Month! I can't wait to see its inclusive cover featured in shops across the country! Thank you so much.”
The Children’s Book of the Month submissions from publishers are read by a panel of booksellers who vote on each title. The BA then collates the votes and the title with the most votes becomes the Book of the Month. The panel for this time comprised members of Moon Lane Books, The Bookshop, Bridport, Steyning Bookshop, Owl & Pyramid and Four Bears Bookshop.
Independent bookshops around the UK and Ireland will be promoting Bitter Orange Tree and Fight Club throughout June on social media and instore. The Booksellers Association will be supporting the promotion of the Indie Books of the Month through social media and promotional material.