The Clothesline Swing

The Clothesline Swing

by Ahmad Danny Ramadan
  • debut
  • diversity
  • from-british-columbia
  • inspirational
  • lgbtq

Inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, The Clothesline Swing tells the epic story of two lovers anchored to the memory of a dying Syria.

One is a Hakawati, a storyteller, keeping life in forward motion by relaying remembered fables to his dying partner. Each night he weaves stories of his childhood in Damascus, of the cruelty he has endured for his sexuality, of leaving home, of war, of his fated meeting with his lover. Meanwhile Death himself, in his dark cloak, shares the house with the two men, eavesdropping on their secrets as he awaits their final undoing.


Ahmad Danny Ramadan, author

Ahmad Danny Ramadan is an experienced journalist with bylines in the Washington Post, The Guardian and Foreign Policy. His history of working with organizations in the Middle East as well as his personal experience as a Syrian refugee have made Ramadan passionate about volunteerism, democracy, social justice and LGBTQ refugees’ rights. He is currently the Community Outreach Coordinator of QMUNITY, British Columbia’s Queer Resource Centre. He was also the Grand Marshal for Vancouver’s Gay Pride Parade 2016. He has previously authored two collections of short stories in Arabic. The Clothesline Swing is his first novel in English. He lives in Vancouver, BC.


  • Stretching from Damascus to Cairo, Beirut to Vancouver, and populated with characters who suffer from mental illness, who have lost family or bits of themselves to oppressive regimes, who faced persecution because of their gender or sexuality, who fled or have endured war, these stories are woven together with skill and artistry. While each story is autonomous, Ramadan’s delicate use of imagery links these narratives, allowing them to reverberate with meaning and emotion. - Publishers Weekly Link to review
  • "The Clothesline Swing" is a beautiful, cultural artifact that gives a rare insight into the world of gay men and women hidden in the Middle East. The first novel of its kind, "The Clothesline Swing" brings to surface the hardships that gay Syrian refugees experience. [...] "The Clothesline Swing" is culturally significant and important, and therefore, the novel should be read. [...] "The Clothesline Swing" helps humanize Syrian refugees by giving faith, hope, and more importantly, a voice to these people who, in the midst of the current refugee crisis and chaos, have faced and continue to face unimaginable struggles. - Zane DeZeeuw, Lambda Literary Link to review


  • Gold medal, 2018 IPPY Awards LGBT+ category
  • Shortlisted, 2018 Lambda Literary Award, Gay Fiction category
  • Longlisted, 2018 CBC's Canada Reads
  • Shortlisted, 2018 Ontario Library Association's Evergreen Award

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Nightwood Editions



rights sold: Israel, France

rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 288

publication date: 05/29/2017

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book