This memoir, a Dutch bestseller written by the husband of a woman killed in the suicide bombings that shook the city of Brussels on March 22, 2016, emerged as a hot book at the just-wrapped London Book Fair. Co-written with a Belgian nonfiction writer, the book received several foreign rights offers at the fair.
Book title: Een jihad van liefde (in English A Jihad for Love) by Mohamed El Bachiri with David Van Reybrouck
First published by: De Bezige Bij of the Netherlands on March 9
Format: paperback original
Author: El Bachiri is a former subway driver, and he had coincidentally taken the day of the attack off from work. His wife was killed in the subway bombing. El Bachiri's wife was the only Muslim killed in the attack, which was carried out by jihadists.
Acquiring Editor: Haye Koningsveld
How It’s Done: Within a week after publication, the book landed at #2 on Bestseller 60, the official Dutch bestseller list, and as of this writing is poised to take the #1 spot on the list. De Bezige Bij said there are currently 60,000 copies of the book in print after six printings. At the London Book Fair, the publisher received translation rights offers from publishers in the U.K., Germany, and France.
Why They Think It’s Working: El Bachiri became a well-known figure in the Netherlands after he said on Belgian television that he did not hate those who committed the attacks in spite of the despair he felt about losing his wife. He later went on to record a TEDx Talk. Koningsveld compared A Jihad for Love to the bestselling French memoir You Will Not Have My Hate, which was written by a man who lost his wife in the 2015 terrorist attack in Paris. Both books, Koningsveld said, champion the idea that a person can deal with grief by transforming it into feelings of love and compassion.