Shortlisted for the 2024 Stella Prize

Sanya Rushdi – Hospital

Fiction · Giramondo Publishing

hospital sanya rushdi

About the Book

In Melbourne a one-time research student with interests in philosophy and psychology is diagnosed with her third episode of psychosis. As she is moved from her family home to a community house and then to hospital, she questions the diagnosis of her sanity or insanity, as determined and defined by a medical model which seems less than convincing to her. Indeed questioning seems to be at the heart of her psychosis, in her over-active interpretations of signs and gestures, thoughts and emotions – and one understands these to be an expression of her intelligence, even if they seem illusory. She tells her story in a calm, rational voice, with an acute sense of detail and an objective air, as she wonders when the next psychotic episode will materialise, or if it hasn’t arrived already.

Based on real-life events, translated from Bengali by the award-winning Indian translator Arunava Sinha, Hospital is an extraordinary novel that portrays the experience of psychosis and its treatments in an unflinching and understated way, while struggling more broadly with the definition of sanity in our society.

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“Hospital is an unflinching, insightful and delicately wrought work of autofiction that brings devastating lucidity to the often-opaque realm of mental health.

– 2024 Stella Prize Judges

About the Author

Sanya Rushdi

Sanya Rushdi was born in Bangladesh and studied the biological sciences and psychology at Monash University, the University of Sydney and Deakin University. Hospital is her first novel. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Further Reading


Hospital may be a slim novel, but the ideas explored within it are expansive—Rushdi successfully plays with, and in the process, ruptures societal definitions of what constitutes a mental illness.” Sonia Nair, Meanjin 

“Rushdi’s novel is a provocation. Hospital is proof that language, and indeed writing, is an escape from our mental prisons.” Cher Tan, ABC Arts

Hospital is exceptionally moving. It is a novel which lingers; it sticks to the skin.” Ellie Fisher, Westerly


Read five questions with Sanya Rushdi and Arunava Sinha, who translated Hospital from Bengali to English, for Liminal.

Judges’ Report

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