The Bookseller – Rights – Saqi wins the sixth novel by Faïza Guène

Saqi Books has bagged the “last gem” of the French-Algerian writer Faïza Guène Discretiona novel exploring the hardships of an Algerian family trying to make a living in Paris.

Publisher Lynn Gaspard has acquired the worldwide English-language rights to Rebecca Carter from Janklow & Nesbit on behalf of Éditions Plon. The book is translated into English by Sarah Ardizzone and will be published on May 31, 2022.

Discretion is Guène’s sixth novel and one of 18 titles nominated for a PEN Translates award. Drawing on his own background, he offers an “intimate picture of the life of a working-class French Algerian family as they reconcile their inherited trauma from colonialism and migration with building a future for their conditions,” the synopsis explains.

The award-winning French edition was a best-seller in France and received widespread critical acclaim. The author made his debut at 19 with like tomorrow (Definitions), which has sold more than 400,000 copies, according to the publisher. In the UK it was translated by Sarah Ardizzone, shortlisted for the Young Minds Book Award and shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

Guène is also a screenwriter and one of the screenwriters for Disney Star’s upcoming miniseries about the death of Algerian student Malik Oussekine at the hands of French police in the 1980s – the impact of which has been comparable to that of the Stephen Lawrence case in Britain.

“Having my books translated into English by the brilliant Sarah Ardizzone has changed my life and my career, as has working with my agent, Rebecca Carter at Janklow & Nesbit,” Guène said. “I am so thrilled to have joined an exciting publisher like Saqi Books for my sixth novel. Discretion is a novel that is particularly close to my heart, because it deals with the quest for legitimacy that the children of immigrants must endure, as well as their need to hear the unspoken story of their parents.

Discretion had a powerful effect on so many readers in France who saw their experience reflected in it. I hope it will have the same impact in the English-speaking world, and also that readers will simply enjoy it, because my goal is always to write a story that entertains.”

Gaspard added: “I’ve been a big Faïza fan since I read love tomorrow and I’m thrilled to release his latest gem. Discretion is a novel of our time. Told with his own humor and levity, Faïza warmly recounts the daily trials of a Franco-Algerian family as they seek to carve out a place for themselves in a Parisian suburb.

“Although set in France, the novel’s themes of belonging, migration and racism will resonate with readers drawn to the rich experiences and unspoken frustrations of first-generation families and later generations.”

Guène will take part in an event tour in May 2022, with confirmed appearances at the Institut français’ Beyond Words Festival and the Dublin International Literature Festival, alongside a major UK and US campaign.

Irene B. Bowles