The novel is the reason that Leila Slimani became the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt.
Rabat – The Perfect Nanny, a bestselling novel by French-Moroccan Leila Slimani is making its way to the big screen, thanks to three production companies: Legendary, Why Not Productions, and Pan-Européenne.
The novel is about a woman named Mariam who returns to the workforce after having children. As Mariam is occupied with the demands of working as a lawyer, she and her husband hire Louise, the ideal nanny. However, “as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau.”
French publishing house Gallimard first published the book as Chanson Douce in 2016. In 2018, the Penguin published it in the US.
NPR’s Barrie Hardymon said the book is one of the year’s most important books. American feminist and writer Roxane Gaye said the work is “incredibly engaging and disturbing . . . You read the entire novel knowing something terrible is coming. In that, Slimani has us in her thrall.”
The Perfect Nanny is one of The New York Times Book Review‘s 10 Best Books of the Year, for which Slimani became the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt.
Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she now lives in Paris with her French husband and their two young children. Also a journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, she is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture and was ranked #2 on Vanity Fair France’s annual list of The Fifty Most Influential French People in the World.
As for the process of adapting the novel for the screen, Pascal Caucheteux of Why Not Productions and Phillippe Gordeau of Pan-Européenne are producing the film with Rosa Attab of Why Not serving as executive producer. Mary Parent will produce and Ali Mendes will executive produce for Legendary. Slimani will also serve as an executive producer. Legendary’s VP of Literary Affairs Deborah Kaufmann will oversee.
An excerpt of the novel is available for reading on the Penguin website.