Book of the Month – January 2020

Adèle by Leïla Slimani

Adèle by Leïla Slimani

Her obsessions devour her. She is helpless to stop them...

Adèle has a seemingly enviable life. She is a respected journalist, living in a flawless Paris apartment with her surgeon husband and their young son. But beneath the veneer of ‘having it all’, Adèle is bored. She begins to orchestrate her life around one-night stands and extramarital affairs, arriving late to work and lying to her husband about where she’s been, until her compulsions threaten to consume her altogether...

Released in the UK as a follow-up to Slimani's bestseller Lullaby, though written and published internationally before, Adèle is a riveting and explosive read that has cemented Slimani's position as one of the best writers of our time.

Read it? Loved it? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #HayBookoftheMonth.

Buy the book

Watch Leïla Slimani speaking about Adèle at Hay Festival 2019

Further reading...

“My books will form your worst nightmares”, New Statesman (February 2019)

Author Leïla Slimani Invites Vogue Into Her Literary World, Vogue (January 2019)

On Living with Unbearable Secrets, New Yorker (February 2019)

About the author

Leïla Slimani is the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, which she won for Lullaby. 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. Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she lives in Paris with her French husband and their two young children. In 2020, Slimani will take part in the Hay Festival Europa28 project: women writers reimagining the future of Europe, with a new anthology out on 19 March and Hay Festival in Rijeka, Croatia, 3–5 June.

About Hay Festival's Book of the Month

Hay Festival's Book of the Month is our monthly recommendation of a title we've loved and think holds added resonance today. While many recommendations celebrate the new, this is a chance to celebrate great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry – new and old – that reaches through time to touch the present.

Throughout the month, we'll share interesting links and articles relating to our selection on social media using #HayBookoftheMonth and invite you all to get involved with your questions and comments.

Over on Hay Player, a special playlist of talks to view online offer additional perspectives on the books from some of the greatest writers and thinkers around the world.

If you'd like to recommend a book for consideration, please email

Happy reading!