Raven Books is to publish People Like Them, the "brutal" English language debut of French Algerian novelist, actor and playwright Samira Sedira.
Alison Hennessey, publishing director of the Bloomsbury imprint, acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights, as well as audio, from Sabila Khan at Penguin US. The novel is translated by Lara Vergnaud, and will be published in trade paperback, e-book and audio in July 2021.
The synopsis reads: "In the remote mountain village of Carmac, everyone knows each other and everyone looks the same—until the Langlois, the first Black family to live in the area, move in. They initially form an uneasy relationship with the Guillot family, but underlying class and racial tensions come to a breaking point, leaving Constant Guillot on trial for the murder of an entire family, and his wife trying to come to terms with her husband’s horrific actions.
"A dark and shocking novel inspired by a true story, People Like Them asks, how can a seemingly normal person commit a terrible crime? And how well can you ever know what’s in someone else’s mind?"
Hennessey said: "Samira’s novel is brutal, shocking and thought-provoking—it both horrified and gripped me, and everyone at Bloomsbury—and I couldn’t be more pleased to be bringing such an exciting, important literary writer to the UK for the first time."
Sedira was born in Algeria and moved to France as a child. After two decades of acting for film and the stage, she became a cleaner, an experience that inspired her autobiographical novel L'Odeur des Planches (The Smell of the Stage). People Like Them is her fourth novel, and the first to be translated into English. She said: "This is an amazing opportunity for me to push the boundaries, and one that all authors dream of. Thanks so much to Bloomsbury Publishing for their trust."
Vergnaud is an award-winning translator who specialises in North African literature.