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Sarah Jessica Parker Reveals First Book Acquisition, and Her A.L.A. Book Club Pick


Sarah Jessica Parker

Ryan Pfluger for The New York Times

If you are curious about Sarah Jessica Parker’s literary diet, you might look more closely at her onscreen surroundings for clues. The actress tends to hide the books she’s reading on set: in the bag her character is holding or under a couch cushion in her fictional home. That quirk is now reflected in her new job: editorial director of her own imprint, SJP for Hogarth.

The job was offered to her by Molly Stern, the head of Hogarth, whom Parker met at a luncheon in 2013; the two subsequently founded a book club that reads almost exclusively unpublished works early. Since launching the imprint last fall, Ms. Parker has read a dozen or more submissions. Today, it was announced that she has acquired her first manuscript, a debut novel by Fatima Farheen Mirza, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The novel, tentatively titled “A Place for Us,” follows an Indian-American family that is reunited on the eve of the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding. It tackles issues of belonging and tradition, delving into the complex experience of an immigrant family in the United States.

“I was thunderstruck by how timely this book was and that it’s not intentionally so. She hasn’t written a treatise on the state of American geopolitical affairs, but she’s feeling something, and her family is,” says Ms. Parker, who expressed keen interest in “voices from far away, people who are different, people from other lands that seem as distant as can be and voices and cultures that are unfamiliar.” She cites Anthony Marra’s critically-acclaimed first book, “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena,” set in war-torn Chechnya, as the “gold standard.”


Fatima Farheen Mirza

David Ye

Unlike other celebrities who have launched imprints that serve as an extension of their brands — Gwyneth Paltrow, for instance, publishes health and wellness books through Goop Press — Ms. Parker made clear in her initial meetings with agents that she wanted to focus on literary fiction. “It’s in large part due to my mother and the fiction she read,” Ms. Parker says; Her mother insisted she and her siblings always leave the house with a book, “even if we couldn’t read.”

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