A grieving husband turned a social media post about loss into a bestselling memoir with Vous n’aurez pas ma haine. The book, which has sold over 100,000 copies in France, is by a French journalist who lost his wife in the terrorist attack on a Paris concert hall in November.
Book title: Vous n’aurez pas ma haine (translated, in English, as You Will Not Have My Hate)
First published: by Fayard in April
Format : trade paperback
Author: Antoine Leiris is a journalist based in Paris. After his wife, Helene, was killed in the terrorist attack on the Bataclan Theater in Paris, he posted a long thread about his devastation on Facebook. He directed the post at the perpetrators of the attack, saying, among other things, "I will not give you the gift of hating you." Leiris explained that he would not succumb to anger but, instead, aim to raise the couple's young son by celebrating the tenets of happiness and freedom. After the post went viral--it was shared over 60,000 times in the space of two days--Leiris became something of a media sensation and his note was picked up by various news outlets; among other things, it wound up being published on the front page of the French newspaper, Le Monde.
Acquiring Editor: Sophie de Closets
How It’s Done: The book has sold in 24 territories, and was acquired in six-figure deals in the U.S. and Germany. It has been on the nonfiction bestseller list in France since its release in April and has sold 180,000 copies in the country to date. The book has also hit bestseller lists in Germany (Der Spiegel) and Italy (Corriere della Sera).
Why It’s Working: De Closets said that after Leiris's letter was published in Le Monde it had a major impact on the national consciousness. The book, in turn, became highly anticipated. "We chose to do a few big interviews and decided not to advertise [the title]," she said. "The impact of the interviews was huge since Leiris’s message is both heartbreaking and somehow comforting, telling people how love and intelligence can help us to heal, even when we have to face the worst tragedies.”