Thursday 22 March 2018

Taliban shooting survivor Malala wins huge publishing deal

Nick Clark

MALALA YOUSAFZAI, the 15-year-old who survived being shot after standing up to the Taliban, is to tell her story "and the story of 61 million children who can't get education" in a memoir.

I am Malala will be published in Britain, the US and India this autumn after the Pakistani schoolgirl, the youngest person to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, struck a deal with two publishers.

Malala, who has tirelessly campaigned for better education in Pakistan, said: "I hope this book will reach people around the world, so they realise how difficult it is for some children to get access to education."

The terms of the deal were undisclosed, but according to Vanity Fair, publishers had offered more than $2m for the book. The publishers and Malala's literary agent declined to comment yesterday.

The memoir will tell the story of the attack in her own words, as well as her life growing up in the Swat Valley.

She was left in critical condition after being shot in the head by a Taliban militant on the school bus in October. The Taliban had objected to her support of girl's education.

Malala was flown to the UK for surgery and after a series of operations was able to return home. Last week marked the first day at her new school in Birmingham, where she will study ahead before selecting her GCSE options next year.

Living under the Taliban, she came to prominence writing for BBC Urdu under the pen name Gul Makai, often focusing on her family's campaign to improve children's access to schools.

After she was featured in a New York Times documentary her true identity was revealed and she and her father Ziauddin were targeted by the Taliban.

She said: "I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61 million children who can't get education. I want it to be part of the campaign to give every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right."

Weidenfeld & Nicolson (W&N) secured publishing rights for the work in Britain and the Commonwealth and hailed the author's "bravery, courage and vision". Little, Brown has the world rights for I am Malala. 

Arzu Tahsin, W&N's deputy publishing director, said: "Malala is so young to have experienced so much and I have no doubt that her story will be an inspiration to readers from all generations who believe in the right to education and the freedom to pursue it."

The attack caused revulsion around the world and was widely condemned. There were candlelight vigils in Pakistan, with many carrying signs saying "We are Malala".

Since then, she has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and shortlisted for Time Magazine Person of the Year. The United Nations secretary-general designated July 12 as Malala Day.

Malala had been working on an organisation with her friends to get girls educated. She subsequently announced the creation of the Malala Fund to support girls in Pakistan

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