Neda Alaei - Selected Title Author

Neda Alaei writes about 16 year old Yousef, who tries to do everything that is expected of him. – On One Condition is about Yousef, and many young Norwegian boys in Norway with a minority background, she says.

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Neda Alaei has written the book 'On One Condition'. Photo: Jan Tore Eriksen / NORLA.

On One Condition is one of NORLA’s Selected Titles for autumn 2023. Here, author Neda Alaei speaks about the book, what inspired her to write it and where and when she works best.

What is your book about?

On One Condition is about Yousef, a 16-year-old boy in Oslo who lives a life filled with conditions from those around him. Studying media and communication isn’t quite how he envisioned it as someone passionate about photography, he already feels somewhat out of place in his group of friends ever since he moved out of Groruddalen, and at home, his mom threatens to call child protective services if she doesn’t do what she asks. With an older sister already in the care of child protective services, Yousef tries to meet everyone’s expectations – but will it be enough? At a party in Stovner, someone pulls out a knife, and what was supposed to be an awesome night leads to even bigger challenges for Yousef when the police call him in for questioning.

What inspired you to write this book?

The main character, Yousef, has a supporting part in my debut book This Isn’t Us, which is about Sanna. Yousef was already showing enthusiasm for photography and music there, and he also hinted that he was having problems at home. Both his passion for photography and the difficulties at home were part of what made him interesting to the main character, Sanna, but also to the readers of the book. A middle-schooler once asked me what Yousef’s “deal” was – and that was when I decided it was time to find out. On One Condition is about Yousef, and about many young boys in Norway with a minority background.

Who is this book for?

The book is for all young people, but also for the adults who work with them, have a teen themselves, or even for adults who need a new perspective on what it’s like to be a young person in Norway today.

Where and/or when do you work best?

I work best in the morning, preferably before lunch. I like having people around me when I’m writing – for example at a cafe or library. I probably write the worst at home, even though I’ve managed to do it as well. I was pregnant with my daughter when I was both writing and editing On One Condition, and after a while, I ended up working from bed. I never thought I’d have been able to do that!

Read more

See full presentation of the book here

See all NORLA’s Selected Titles for autumn 2023 here