Borough has bought the second novel by Kuwaiti author Layla AlAmmar, pitched as “Rear Window” meets Exit West.
Silence is a Sense is billed as a “lyrical and moving story of a traumatised, mute Syrian refugee who is gradually drawn into the lives of her neighbours in an unnamed UK city, while also secretly writing for a newspaper”. Through the novel, AlAmmar explores the refugee crisis and rise of xenophobic, alt-right rhetoric in Europe.
Ann Bissell, publicity director and commissioning editor at Borough, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights cexcluding Canada from Ben Fowler at Abner Stein, on behalf of Melissa Edwards at Stonesong. North American rights have gone to Betsy Gleick at Algonquin. Both Borough Press and Algonquin will publish Silence is a Sense in spring 2021.
AlAmmar’s debut novel The Pact We Made was published by Borough Press in March 2019 and was featured on BBC Radio 4, as well as various other media outlets.
AlAmmar said: “I'm so pleased to be partnering with Borough Press again. Working with Ann has been a dream, and I can't wait to do it all again with Silence is a Sense.”
Bissell said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to continue to publish Layla. She is an incredibly talented writer with a big literary future. Silence is a Sense tells the story of a Syrian refugee who slowly becomes involved in the lives of those around her, in a community where the local mosque is both a symbol of hope and fear.”
Edwards said: “In Silence is a Sense, Layla AlAmmar has delivered an overwhelming story of trauma and growth that encourages empathy in the reader. I am so proud to be a part of Layla's blossoming career as a novelist.”