Virago has pre-empted an “astounding” memoir by Syrian activist Loubna Mrie, who took on the Assad regime and her own abusive father.
Editorial director Ailah Ahmed secured UK and Commonwealth rights in the untitled book from Anna Webber at United Agents on behalf of Bill Clegg at the Clegg Agency.
Mrie was raised a staunch Syrian Alawite, the same sect as then President Hafez al-Assad. The synopsis states: “Her mother’s father helped plan the coup that saw Hafez seize power in 1970 and bring the Alawites out of hiding and into a position of total control. Her father was intimately involved in Hafez’s government as an enforcer and assassin.
“When the Arab Spring reached Syria in 2011, she attended a protest against his son Bashar’s government out of curiosity and her life changed forever. When she returned to her grandparents’ home in Damascus, her family called her a traitor. Unable to look back, she plunged ahead into a life of activism—in opposition to both the regime and her abusive father—with unimaginable consequences. Loubna’s father was exiled, her mother murdered and her boyfriend, Peter Kassig, an American, was executed by ISIS.”
Mrie is a photographer, journalist and writer who covered the Syrian war as a photojournalist for Reuters from 2012 to 2014. Currently based in Oakland, she is a frequent commentator and has been published in Time, the Washington Post, the New Republic, the Nation and Vice among others.
Ahmed said: “Loubna can write beautifully and her story is astounding. From a vivid description of life at school pre-Arab Spring, to her first experience of protest, witnessing the murder of eight men, to the visceral account of her work as a photojournalist in conflict zones, and losing her boyfriend to ISIS, the whole proposal felt vital and important. I cannot believe she is only 26.”