A couple of years ago a famous bookstore was visited by the kingdom’s religious police and copies of a novel were ordered off its shelves. Social media went rife with the news and almost everyone in the country heard of this novel due to the unexpected publicity it received.
Called Hwjn, the novel is based on a fictional love story between a human and a jinn. Written by first-time Saudi author Ibraheem Abbas and coauthored by Yasser Bahjatt the book was accompanied by a trailer that only hyped its fame.
Abbas has once mentioned in an interview that it was his wife who had pushed him into writing.
But after writing the draft of Hwjn, Abbas found out that no publisher was ready to publish it.
So Abbas along with his coauthor Bahjatt established their own publishing company called Yatakhayaloon. They published the novel through it and the religious police’s involvement catapulted the novel containing the Twilight-like love story to international fame.
The reason behind the initial ban by the religious police was due to the suspicion of blasphemy in the book.
Rumors did the rounds that the book encouraged young girls to try Ouija boards and call upon the jinn.
Seeing its huge success in Arabic, the book was translated into English as well, which also received a good response in the domestic market.