"Sex and the City" actress Sarah Jessica Parker has acquired the first book for her new Hogarth-based imprint - a debut about an Indian Muslim family in California, by Fatima Mirza.
Parker, who is editorial director of SJP for Hogarth, is publishing her new line of books within the Hogarth imprint of Chatto & Windus in the UK and Penguin Random House’s Crown Publishing Group in the US, as was first reported on in October last year. Parker will be involved in every aspect of the publication of books, it was then said, from their selection and acquisition to cover design and promotion.
Mirza's debut novel A Place for Us will be published on the list in 2019. Parker, with Becky Hardie, deputy publishing director of Chatto & Windus and Hogarth UK, pre-empted world English, electronic and audio rights to the debut novel, from Jin Auh of The Wylie Agency, LLC. Parker will be supported on the project by Lindsay Sagnette, editorial director of fiction for Crown and Hogarth, who will edit with Hardie.
A Place for Us is pitched as "a poignant portrait of a family caught between two cultures, and a resonant story of faith, tradition, identity and belonging, from a gifted young storyteller". The plot begins on the eve of the wedding of an Indian Muslim family's eldest daughter in California. As Hadia’s marriage - one of love, not tradition - gathers the family back together, her parents Rafiq and Layla must come to terms with the choices that their two daughters, and their estranged son Amar, have made.
Parker said: “To be taken hostage by Fatima Mirza’s heartrending and timely story is a gutting pleasure. It allows her reader to better understand what it means to reconcile one’s love of family and culture with a desire to find one’s own path, and one’s own faith. Ms Mirza painstakingly details the life of an Indian Muslim family in America and their children’s search to feel whole, fulfilled, and content. She captures your mind and heart with an urgency that defies you to stop reading. I guarantee you will be different when you close the book.”
Mirza, 26, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, said she had begun writing the novel as a freshman in college eight years ago.
"I was interested in exploring what it means when to be loyal to oneself is to betray the home you have come from, the bond between siblings as well as their betrayals, and the decisions that each character makes that determines not only their own destiny, but also the lives of their loved ones," she said.
"After working on the novel for eight years, I could not be happier with the home it has found. Speaking with Sarah Jessica Parker, Lindsay Sagnette and Becky Hardie and seeing the care and enthusiasm they bring to their books has been deeply comforting. I’m confident in their vision for the novel and grateful that it will be brought into the world by SJP for Hogarth.”