Macmillan Children’s to publish 'empowering' retelling of classic fairytales

Macmillan Children’s to publish 'empowering' retelling of classic fairytales

Macmillan Children’s Books has acquired two illustrated middle-grade fiction titles by debut author Radiya Hafiza. 

Samantha Smith, publisher of fiction, non-fiction and picture books, and Cate Augustin, editor, secured world rights from Alice Sutherland-Hawes while she was working at the Madeleine Milburn Literacy Agency.

The synopsis for the first title, Rumaysa: A Fairytale, reads: "This funny and empowering story weaves together three classic fairytales into one new adventure with an unusual structural twist: Rumaysa is a Muslim girl who lets her hijab down from a tall tower in order to escape. Set in a magical version of South Asia, Rumaysa explores enchanted forests and dragon lairs, teaming up with Cinderayla and Sleeping Sara along the way to create a strong sense of sisterhood."

The book will be published in April 2021 and will feature black and white illustrations by Rhaida El Touny and a cover illustration by Areeba Siddique.

Augustin said: "Radiya brings a wholly original and necessary perspective to these traditional stories — the girls in Rumaysa are strong willed and feminist, and give much needed representation to children who have never previously seen themselves in such classic fairytales. We couldn't be more excited to be working with her on her fresh and funny debut."

Hafiza added: "I am so thrilled that Rumaysa has found a home with Macmillan Children’s Books; Cate and the team at MCB are a dream to work with. Rumaysa is a love letter to some of my favourite fairytales I read growing up, and the kind of book I wish I’d had when I was a child. I’m so excited to share these retellings of Rapunzel, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and show children everywhere that they can be the hero of any story they want to be."