Ish Ait Hamou Ish Ait Hamou
(c) Shed Mojahid

Ish Ait Hamou

Ish Ait Hamou (b. 1987) is born in Belgium. Aside from his career as a professional dancer and choreographer he became a storyteller when he wrote his first novel, Hard Heart, in 2014. In 2015 his bestseller Cécile was published (45,000 copies sold), followed by the novella When You Lose Somebody, which was adapted for the screen in 2018. Hamou is an important voice in the Belgian public debate and participated in the television programme Terug naar Eigen Land (Return to Your Country), in which he travelled with anti-immigration politicians and public figures from Mogadishu to Belgium, capturing the journey of refugees. This impressive and heart-breaking journey lead to writing The Beauty We Share, which became an instant bestseller in Belgium (60,000 copies sold).

Translation rights

The Beauty We Share

Novel
A haunting story of redemption, set in an increasingly polarized society
60,000 copies sold

Soumia, a young Flemish woman with Moroccan roots, is released from prison and returns to her father and younger brother’s home. She is deeply ashamed for her incarceration. Soumia was in prison for helping out two childhood friends by giving them a ride to the station. Immediately after she dropped them of they – unbeknownst to her – committed a terrorist attack. The judge couldn’t be convinced Soumia wasn’t aware of their intentions.  Now she tries to get her life back on track and takes a job at a local grocery store.

Luc, an elderly Flemish man, deals with the solitude of life after having lost his wife during the attack Soumia was imprisoned for.

Five years later Luc and Soumia meet, and slowly discover they are connected through the same tragic event. Both deal with social isolation after the traumatic attack, and Soumia’s guilt wears heavier by the day. Now that they have to deal with each other, pressing questions will come to the forefront and decisions will have to be made in a situation that leaves little room for understanding or empathy.

The Beauty We Share is a story of redemption, set in an increasingly polarized society in which the other is increasingly seen as a threat. Luc and Soumia have the courage to make choices other than those imposed by the world around them. They start a search for what is scarce in this day and age: empathy against the backdrop of a polarization. Along the way they have to face their inner and outer demons and break the vicious circle of apathy, which will change both them and the reader forever.

An English sample translation can be accessed below; please contact us for a French sample translation or the Dutch manuscript.

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