UK and Commonwealth rights for the Charlie Hebdo editor’s posthumous manifesto, Open Letter: On Blasphemy, Islamophobia and the True Enemies of Free Expression, have yet to be sold, it has been confirmed.
The French publisher Les Echappés said that while North American rights had been bought, UK rights were still available.
The "powerful and provocative" work by Charlie Hebdo’s editor in chief, Stéphane Charbonnier, known as Charb, will be published in the US by Little, Brown and Company in January, after North American rights were sold to publisher Reagan Arthur by French publisher Les Echappés.
Charbonnier died along with eleven of his colleagues on 7th January 2015 when two gunmen forced their way into the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and took the lives of 12 men and women. They called for “Charb” by name.
Charbonnier was an outspoken proponent of social justice and a renowned political cartoonist in his own right. It transpired after his death that he had finished a book just two days before his murder on the issues at the heart of the attacks: blasphemy, Islamophobia, and the necessary courage of satirists.
Michael Pietsch, chief executive officer of Hachette Book Group, said: “Freedom of speech is the foundation of our business, and Stéphane Charbonnier was one of free speech’s great proponents. We’re proud to publish this vital book.”
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, has stood for freedom of expression for 45 years. It was honoured with the Freedom of Expression Courage Award at the PEN American Gala in May of this year, despire protest from prominent authors.
Arnaud Nourry, chairman of Hachette Livre, parent company of Hachette Book Group, said: “The murder of Stéphane Charbonnier and his colleagues at Charlie Hebdo was a tragic moment for France, and for the world. To have journalists and illustrators silenced so brutally for lampooning bullies and extremists was a brazen attack on the fundamental freedom to publish. I am pleased that we will be able to share Charbonnier’s views with readers, and to contribute to the conversation about the insidiousness of religious intolerance.”
Arthur, who acquired North American rights for Little, Brown, added: “In Open Letter, Charb’s words are powerful and provocative. I’m honored to be able to publish this important and lasting work on free expression.”
Open Letter publishes under Little, Brown & Company in January 2016, retailing at $16.00 U.S./$19.50, e-book $9.99.
Enquiries regarding UK rights should be directed to Les Echappés.