The Shape of Dust

Lamisse Hamouda and Hazem Hamouda

An incredible true tale of overcoming injustice and ode to the fierce love within one family, The Shape of Dust is a haunting appraisal of the way Australia treats its citizens, both at home and abroad.

In 2018, on his way to a family holiday in Cairo, Australian-Egyptian citizen Hazem Hamouda disappears without warning, going missing somewhere between landing and customs.

His eldest daughter, Lamisse, has recently moved to Egypt armed with a scholarship to the American University of Cairo, and overnight her world is turned upside down. With little Arabic and even less legal knowledge, she finds out her father has been arbitrarily arrested. Going up against the notorious Egyptian prison system, Lamisse discovers that the Australian embassy provides shockingly little support to dual citizens arrested abroad.

Shouldering the responsibility of her father’s welfare, Lamisse learns to navigate both deeply flawed systems, and freeing Hazem involves a reckoning with the two countries she’s called home – coming to terms with the prejudice and racism of the country she grew up in and the corruption in the country she was hoping to reconnect with.

Told with exquisite intimacy by both father and daughter, The Shape of Dust is an Australian story unlike any other, and the striking debut of a writer of incredible nuance, insight and talent.

Lamisse Hamouda's The Shape of Dust is a must read. Full -blooded and clear-eyed, this book is a deep dive inot memories big and small, burtal and joyful, a ruthlessly reflective examination of the many things that bind us - and free us.

- Omar Musa

This is an extraordinarily brave, honest, and depply intimate account of a family's struggle against a brutal bureaucracy.

- Peter Greste

Paperback & ebook

Lamisse Hamouda and Hazem Hamouda

Lamisse Hamouda (she/her) is an Egyptian-Australia writer, theatre-maker and youth worker who lives on the unceded lands of Meanjin (Brisbane). Her writings have been published in various publications in Europe and Australia, including Arts of the Working Class, Diversity Arts Australia, SBS and Jdeed Magazine, and her poetry was included in the anthology, Arab, Australia, Other: Stories on Race and Identity.

Hazem Hamouda is a Muslim, an Egyptian and an Australian. A former I.T consultant, Hazem was arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned in Egypt in 2018. His plight was covered by various media outlets, including Channel 10’s The Project, SBS and the ABC. Based in Meanjin (Brisbane), he teaches Arabic at a local community centre, and lives with his family and a couple of backyard chickens.

Pantera Press

Pantera Press is a young and enthusiastic publisher of titles that spark imagination, conversation and change. We publish fiction, non-fiction, illustrated non-fiction and a growing list of children’s titles.

The Shape of Dust
Katy McEwen