When the Apricots Bloom
In the historic city of Baghdad, a secretary, an artist and a diplomat’s wife, must confront the complexities of trust, friendship, and motherhood under the rule of the dictator Saddam Hussein and his ruthless secret police.
At night, in Huda’s fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat—the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador’s wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenaged son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own.
Huda’s former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family’s wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women’s lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sky
My first book, a narrative non-fiction account of my time living in Baghdad, was shortlisted for the Western Australian Literary Awards in 2008. Here's what some of the critics had to say:
"The paranoia and stress of living in a corrupt country, where the population is oppressed by a tyrannical regime and persecuted by its secret service are palpable... A compelling read and a salutary reminder of the risks war reporters must face to provide us with the news horror we crave." Sydney Morning Herald
"The outstanding quality of the writing and the insights Wilkinson provides into the war in Iraq, and the competitive world of the news media, give it a unique edge." - The Mercury
"A great read. A well written, sensitive and thoughtful insider's account of Iraq at a pivotal time in history." - The Walkley Magazine
"Refreshing and intimate…it adds authenticity and realism.” - The Sunday Times
“A fascinating tell-all book, what incredible, searing honesty.” - Australian Broadcasting Corporation
This memoir is currently out of print, but if you're in Australia, please click here for a list of local libraries where you can pick up a copy.