Egyptian-Irish poet, writer, and BBC presenter Salma El-Wardany has signed a six-figure pre-empt with Trapeze Books and Grand Central Publishing for her debut novel, The Way We Were.

The novel is set to publish in both the UK and the US in June 2022.

Read the synopsis below from The Bookseller:

The Way We Were will center around female storytelling and the power of a woman’s voice. It will chart the dreams and disappointments of a group of British Muslim women; Jenna, Kees and Malak. They have been friends for years: the three of them together against the world is how it’s always been. Yet one night changes everything between them and they are left adrift, marooned from each other as their lives take different paths. Without the support of each other, nothing seems to go quite right in their lives. Malak and Kees, having said things to each other they’ll always regret, don’t know how to come back together and Jenna has to live with the fallout.

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El-Wardany has given two TEDx Talks about reclaiming the narrative around Muslims in the West, particularly Muslim women. She tells Open Country Magazine, “This book was the culmination of years of frustration. I was frustrated that the story of young Muslim women wasn’t being told outside a stereotypical, negative narrative. I felt like we deserved to live in the light, and this book is about bringing us out of the shadows.”

Seema Mahanian from Grand Central Publishing tells The Bookseller,

The Way We Were is one of those rare, searing novels of female friendship with an emotional core so authentic that readers will feel like they’ve known these characters for years. Salma examines female sexuality alongside faith and the weight of cultural expectations, writing of women whose stories rarely get told.

Congratulations to Salma El-Wardany!