Nadifa Mohamed’s gripping novel about a petty criminal in Cardiff who becomes the last man to be hanged there, wrongfully convicted of murder in 1952.

Mahmood Mattan is a father, a chancer, a petty thief. Many things, in fact, but he is not a murderer. So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn’t too worried - secure in his innocence in a country where justice is served. But as the trial nears, it starts to dawn on him that he is in a fight for his life - against conspiracy, prejudice and the ultimate punishment. In the shadow of the hangman’s noose, he realises that the truth may not be enough to save him.

Shortlisted
The 2021 Booker Prize
Published by
Viking
Publication date
Nadifa Mohamed

Nadifa Mohamed

About the Author

With her third novel - The Fortune Men - Nadifa Mohamed becomes the first British Somali novelist to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
More about Nadifa Mohamed

I knew I wanted to make the line between fact and fiction imperceptible

Listen to an extract from The Fortune Men

Hugh Quarshie, known for roles in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Holby City, brings The Fortune Men to life.

The audiobook for The Fortune Men on a green background.

In her determined, nuanced and compassionate exposure of injustice, Mohamed gives the terrible story of Mattan’s life and death meaning and dignity

The story of Mahmood Mattan

The Fortune Men is a fictionalisation of the story of Mahmood Mattan, who in 1952 became the last man hanged at Cardiff Prison in Wales. 

In 1998 – 45 years later – his conviction and hanging was overturned.

Journalist Safia Mohamed looks at the story of Mattan and of the Somali community’s history in Wales, where he lived.

Read more at the BBC

Black and white photo of men sitting round a table laughing.

Watch 'The Fortune Men' shortlist film

2021 Booker Prize chair of judges Maya Jasanoff discusses 'The Fortune Men'