Sex and the City fame is not someone you would necessarily equate with reading, but she has created a new imprint called SJP for Hogarth. Expecting a celebrity cookbook, a memoir, or a title outling how she still eats burgers but maintains her weight, I was surprised and delighted to learn that she is in fact promoting fiction:from
SJP For Hogarth is a home for high-quality works of fiction by both established writers and distinctive emerging voices from far away, people who are different, people from other lands that seem as distant as can be and voices and cultures that are unfamiliar.
I happened to be reading her first book recommendation during the tragic events in Christchurch.
A Place for Us by debut author Fatima Farheen Mirza seemed to present itself to me at a time when I most needed understanding and empathy for a community that had been torn apart. Mirza tells the story of Rafiq and Layla, Indian Muslim parents preparing for their daughter Hadia's marriage in California. This however is not a book that follows a chronology, but moves around from the arranged marriage of Rafiq and Layla, to the love match that Hadia has formed, from deep religious beliefs and a lasting committment for tradition to their son Amar who is steadily rejecting everything he knows. This is a tender story that manages to highlight the issues of racism with a light touch - which doesn't make it any the less shocking, but it is also about family and what keeps us together.
The second book published by SJP for Hogarth is Golden Child by Claire Adam:
A deeply affecting debut novel set in Trinidad, following the lives of a family as they navigate impossible choices about scarcity, loyalty, and love.