Riverhead Books has acquired a new book, Sea Prayer, by Kite Runner author Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini wrote the book, Riverhead said, "in response to the current refugee crisis." Featuring illustrations by London-based artist Dan Williams, the book was inspired by the "haunting image of young Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on the beach in Turkey in September 2015."
Sea Prayer, which is written in the form of a letter, will be released on September 18, to mark the third anniversary of Kurdi’s death. The book will be published simultaneously by Penguin Canada and Bloomsbury in the U.K.
“We are living in the midst of a displacement crisis of enormous proportions,” Hosseini said in a statement. “Sea Prayer is an attempt to pay tribute to the millions of families, like Alan Kurdi’s, who have been splintered and forced from home by war and persecution.”
Originally produced in collaboration with United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR (of which Hosseini is a Goodwill Ambassador), Sea Prayer was first released as a Guardian virtual film last year. Hosseini will donate author proceeds from the book to the UNHCR and his own Khaled Hosseini Foundation to send funds to help refugees.
“Any new project from Khaled Hosseini is momentous. He is one of the most important writers of our time. But this work is particularly poignant in its heartbreaking engagement with the refugee crisis,” Riverhead editor-in-chief Sarah McGrath said in a statement. “I believe this beautifully written, intensely moving story will be cherished by people of all ages, and all over the world.”