Seven Dials has acquired the first book by a Manchester bombing survivor, What Makes Us Stronger, authored by 16-year-old Freya Lewis with journalist Amisha Desai.
Emily Barrett, commissioning editor for Seven Dials and Orion Spring, bought world and dramatisation rights to the book, with plans to publish in spring 2020.
Lewis, then 15, was three metres away from the terrorist who detonated the bomb at the Manchester arena on the night of 22nd May 2017. Her best friend Nell who she had been linking arms with at the time was killed, while Lewis was thrown forward by the blast. She suffered 29 separate injuries, was in a coma for five days and in a wheelchair for three months. A year later, after 70 hours of surgery, she ran the Junior Great Manchester Run to fundraise £60,000 for the hospital that saved her.
In the book, according to Seven Dials, Lewis will tell a story “of astonishing hope and positivity”, covering: “the amazing emergency services and doctors who saved her life, and of how the attack has changed her: how she’s more confident now than she was before, how she misses Nell more than anything, how she struggles to deal with her scars, how she wants and needs people to ask her what happened, how she’s determined to live every day of her life to the fullest and encourage others to do the same – and what it really means to not just survive terrorism, but to win”.
Barrett said: “We’re in the midst of some bleak times, and Freya’s story of courage, strength, community, resilience in the face of adversity, and ultimately hope will remind us all that there is always a chink of light to be found in the darkness. It’s a privilege to publish Freya and her immensely powerful and moving story – I dare you to not fall in love with her.”
Lewis said she hoped the book would encourage readers to share their troubles and would serve as a fitting tribute to those who helped her over the last 18 months.
“Life for me will never be the same as it was before the attack, and I know it can’t be for the family and friends of the 22 people who died, including Nell, and the many others who were there, who were injured, who witnessed what happened,” she said. “But I will never take being on this pretty amazing world for granted; I’m not letting terrorism steal any light from my life.”