Orenda Books has signed Awais Khan’s "devastatingly emotive, searingly relevant" novel No Honour in a two-book pre-empt just ahead of Frankfurt Book Fair.
Karen Sullivan, publisher of Orenda Books, acquired world English language rights, including TV and audio (excluding the US and Canada) for No Honour and a further, untitled novel, from Annette Crossland at A is for Authors, in a pre-Frankfurt pre-empt.
Sullivan said: "This beautifully written, utterly compulsive book has the extraordinarily richness and depth of a fine family drama, combined with the narrative pace of a thriller. It’s topical, immensely emotive and filled with themes that are both provocative and sobering. No Honour is an extraordinary achievement, from one of Pakistan’s most exciting authors, and I cannot wait to get this wonderful book out there.
"The story moves from dangerous, over-populated Lahore to an exquisitely drawn rural Pakistan, where religious fervour, poverty and age-old traditions dictate a way of life that sees a series of young women killed for alliances deemed unacceptable. Abida is a fearless young woman, valiantly fighting against honour killing, prostitution, trafficking and the patriarchy, determined to marry for love and supported by her devoted father, Jamil, who is fighting his own battle with ingrained cultural expectations and ongoing moral dilemmas. Abida’s life spirals out of control, and she faces an unremitting series of tragic and terrifying events, with the backdrop of village life in Pakistan playing a central role.
"Themes of love, empathy, forgiveness and strength against unbidden and unseen foes lie at the heart of this book, with vivid characters who leap off the page, their messages, their heartrending, shocking plights leaving the reader entirely immersed. I felt bereft when this book ended, but also incredibly moved, and probably a little wiser. This is a book about endurance, about love in its different forms, about what makes us human, and what threatens to destroy us. It’s simply stunning."
Commenting on the pre-empt, Kahn said: "Honour killings have plagued Pakistan for a very long time, but the issue is actually global. It is appalling even to imagine being persecuted for something as natural as following your heart, but that's the world we live in. I am glad that Orenda Books will help me in shining a light on this gruesome practice that has destroyed countless lives, countless generations."
She added: "I have long admired the passion and dedication of Karen Sullivan as well as the trademark flair and professionalism with which she brings out her books in the world. Her enthusiasm for books is boundless and I can't think of anyone better to publish this book. I am very happy to be in such capable hands and to be a part of 'Team Orenda'."
Crossland added: "I am incredibly delighted that Orenda will be publishing our fabulous author, Awais Khan. I have long been a fan of Karen Sullivan, after meeting with her at the London Book Fair in 2014 after the formation of Orenda Books, and greatly admire her verve, aptitude and passion for publishing wonderful books. The subject of honour killings is not just the scourge of Pakistan, but is now an international issue that needs to highlighted and addressed—an abhorrent and ghastly practice that should be wiped off the face of the earth. I know that Awais will in the best of hands as part of Team Orenda."
No Honour [working title] will be published in summer 2021.