Sweetness in the Belly

Camilla Gibb tells the story of a young girl who is left under the care of a Sufi sheikh when her nomadic parents are killed.

Camilla Gibb

Lilly is born to nomadic parents, but when they are unexpectedly killed, she winds up in an unusual situation: being raised as a white Muslim by a Sufi sheikh. She lives much of her childhood and teen years in Africa, but eventually ends up in London, England, working as a nurse. Lilly is forced to navigate a collision of cultures and beliefs while figuring out who she truly is — and where she truly belongs. Alternating between England in the 1980s and Ethiopia in the 1970s, Sweetness in the Belly is both a touching love story and a gripping chronicle of political upheaval.

Sweetness in the Belly won the 2006 Trillium Book Award and was a finalist for the 2005 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Read an excerpt | Author interviews 

From the book

Once you step inside, history has to be rewritten to include you. A fiction develops a story that weaves you into the social fabric, giving you roots and a local identity. You are assimilated, and in erasing your differences and making you one of their own, the community can maintain belief in its wholeness and purity. After two or three generations, nobody remembers the story is fiction. It has become fact. And this is how history is made.

From Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb ©2006. Published by Anchor Canada.

Author interviews

The novelist and author of the memoir "This Is Happy" shares her favourite authors, her greatest fear, and more. 5:10