Melody Razak is one of ten emerging writers in the running for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2022,‘the UK’s most prestigious award for first-time novelists’ (Telegraph). The winning author will receive a £10,000 prize along with a year-long package of support with the National Centre for Writing to help them progress their career. Stay tuned for the shortlist announcement on Tuesday 7 June.

Melody Razak is a former cake shop owner and pastry chef turned writer. Moth is her debut novel and follows a fourteen year-old girl, Alma, who is soon to be married. Alma’s parents are uneasy about their daughter marrying so young, but political unrest is brewing, and times are bad for girls in India. When Partition happens this extraordinary family is torn apart, but the resilience of the human spirit is an extraordinary thing… Get to know the author behind the words below.

Moth is longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2022. Find out more →

Discover the inspiration behind Melody’s debut novel on LoveMyRead →

Moth started with the burning desire to give these women a unique voice through fiction. I wanted to explore how women survive in times of trauma and crisis. How the hearth and domestic rituals become a lifeline. How something as simple as cooking food, telling a story, plaiting hair, can bring communities together when they have lost everything. These were the stories, I felt, that had been left on the side-line.

Listen to Melody Razak discussing Moth on The Tiny Bookcase Podcast →

Ben and Nico are joined by Melody Razak, author of Moth, listed as one of The Observer’s top ten debuts novelists of 2021. Listen in as they discuss Melody’s writing process, characters with lives of their own, and what it’s like to watch 1000 episodes of an anime… no, really!

Read about Melody Razak’s desire to give a voice to women in post-Partition India on EasternEye →

‘A lot of these women were never allowed to speak or to tell their story and I felt quite a lot of outrage on their behalf,’ Razak explained. ‘I was thinking, how do I give these women a voice when it’s impossible for me to speak to any of them? That was the beginnings of the novel.’

Read Melody discuss the inspiration behind naming her debut novel Moth in The Telegraph Online →

The name Moth came from a very unprecedented event in Razak’s life. There had been a moth infestation in her flat on her beloved pashmina scarves collected from India over the years of travel. ‘I picked one up and it just crumpled into dust in front of me. And it was really that feeling of it falling apart that made me think of the situation and Partition.’

Where can I buy Moth?

Check out your local bookshop to buy a copy of Melody’s ‘stunning, powerful‘ (Anna Hope) first novel. Or head to to support independent bookshops countrywide. Here’s a hand-pick of our favourites:







Northern Ireland

Looking for more interesting books to add to your ‘to be read’ pile? Check out the full Desmond Elliott Prize longlist on our website! We’d love you to share your thoughts on social media and tag us on Instagram and Twitter. 🥰📚