Mona Arshi was born in West London, where she still lives. She worked as a human-rights lawyer for a decade before receiving an MA in creative writing from UEA. Her debut poetry collection Small Hands was published in 2015, winning the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and her work has since appeared in The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Times of India, as well as in the Poems on the Underground series. Her debut novel Somebody Loves You was published by And Other Stories in 2021. Mona Arshi is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4.


Stephanie Sy-Quia
The Guardian

‘Somebody Loves You is reminiscent at first of an old home movie shot on Super 8 film, the colours saturated but barely in focus . . . This is the camerawork of memory in action, what childhood recollection chooses to emphasise . . . For Ruby, speech is an inadequate mechanism for self-presentation . . . this is a book about silence as a subversive act of care.’

Sunday Telegraph
Cal Revely-Calder

‘Prismatically gorgeous: a fluent construction, and deconstruction, of words.’

Stephanie Cross
Daily Mail

‘Although this is a novel that is powerfully aware of the potency of words, it's executed with admirable delicacy.’

Alastair Mabbott
The Herald

Arshi’s poetic craft is conspicuous throughout all these vignettes, which are lyrical, beautifully honed facets of a larger whole.’

Rupa Huq MP
The House

‘Timeless . . . warmly written and warmly recommended.’

Publishers Weekly, starred review

‘The chapters, like Ruby, are concise, never rambling, but they contain startling depth . . . Each scene is packed with emotion and memory, and it’s all carried by the diction and imagery of a poem. It adds up to a beautiful whole.’

Jo Lateu
New Internationalist

Mona Arshi has crafted a delightful, gentle debut novel full of warmth and subtle humour. To quote one of Ruby’s father’s favourite aphorisms: a beautiful thing is never perfect. But I would counter that Somebody Loves You probably is.’

Lucy Popescu
The Tablet

‘An unforgettable portrait of a young girl struggling to connect.’

Heather McDaid
The Skinny

‘Amid anecdotes spanning years of life in a handful of pages lies a tale that will sit with readers long after its final page.’

Joshua Rees
Buzz Magazine

In the best writing, what goes unsaid is often as important as what gets said, and there’s a lot left unsaid in Mona Arshi’s debut novel Somebody Loves You . . . her prose is pared to the bone, and she has a keen eye for detail, as well as a knack for memorable imagery.’

Roger Robinson

‘A sharply drawn world of wonder in elegant and lean prose. A fresh, innovative novel that is an ode to families, coming of age and sisterhood.’

Jeet Thayil 

‘Mona Arshi uses the shape and heft of prose poetry to extend the novel into unexpected new terrain. Tender, funny, and exhilarating.’

Preti Taneja

‘Somebody Loves You is alive with rare subtlety and tensile strength, and infused with the kind of beauty that brings every quiet moment into sharp relief.’

Salena Godden

‘A truly enriching read, Somebody Loves You is a glorious debut novel. I took this book with me everywhere and kept returning to it. I loved every perfect choice of word and turn of phrase in this vivid and tender, poetic and beautiful book.’

Jessica J Lee

‘Mona Arshi writes with curiosity, gentleness, and a keen eye for how even the smallest details of daily life can carry meaning. In form and content, this is a gleaming, quiet novel cut through with remarkable confidence. Reading Somebody Loves You was like being rocked gently – and then shaken entirely awake.’

Bhanu Kapil

‘Something flows through this book at the deepest level: experiences of love, care, memory and intimacy. Written with the poetic capacity to articulate the unsaid and the unknown; an extraordinary novel of the day, the night, the garden and life.’

Andrew McMillan

‘Each sentence has the cadence of poetry, each phrase perfectly chosen, each word correctly weighed. This is a novel which reminds us memory and narrative are often not complete but rather are crystallised glimpses, which turn like a kaleidoscope through our mind.’

Booksellers love Somebody Loves You

  ‘A masterful, subtle and heartbreaking novel - I loved it.’ Jo Heygate, Pages of Hackney
‘A beautiful gem of a story, which explores the vicissitudes of youth with an understated elegance, wit and insight.’ Fiona Kennedy, The Pitshanger Bookshop
‘Mona Arshi's talent lies in the perfect balance between the harshness of the story and the bewitching atmosphere of her prose. Beautifully devastating.’ Giulia Lenti, Foyles Waterloo
‘An astutely observant portrait of the world from a girl who doesn't speak, Somebody Loves You is a novel built by the power of memories, nostalgia, and sisterhood. Arshi expresses the gravity of mental health in wonderfully written poetic prose which is absolutely captivating from start to finish. She transforms fleeting childhood moments into the unforgettable.’ Lauren Steele, Waterstones Crouch End
‘Like the proverbs Ruby carefully keeps in her notebook, Arshi’s chapters have a pearly, iridescent quality - tender, lyrical, with a quiet humour and a dark sting in the tail. You want to turn each sentence over in your hand in case it looks different from another angle. Properly sublime writing.’ Ben Pope, Review Bookshop
‘I jumped into Somebody Loves You with little to no idea of what to expect, and found myself unable to put it down. The voice of Ruby - sister, daughter of immigrants, brown, observant, mute - is powerfully crafted. A great read for lovers of poetry and prose alike.’ Mariana Calderon, Savoy Bookshop & Café
‘Somebody Loves You is elegant and elusive, and also completely brilliant. Each of its precise little vignettes holds an act of micro-resistance against the banality and violence of the world.’ Tom Robinson, Gloucester Road Books
‘An ambitious and richly imagined debut. Quite unlike anything I’ve ever read.’ Callum McAllister, Storysmith

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