Canongate buys Simon's Cat

<p>Canongate has won &quot;a fierce auction&quot; for the world rights to two illustrated books by Simon&#39;s Cat animator Simon Tofield.</p><p>Tofield&#39;s creations have reached a wide audience over the last few months, drawing more than 20m hits on YouTube and winning a number of awards, including Best Comedy at the British Animation Awards and the YouTube&#39;s Blockbuster Award. The animations&ndash;simple line drawings in black and white&mdash;depict the ever-hungry Simon&#39;s Cat in various attempts to get his owner to feed him.</p><p>Editorial director Nick Davies struck the deal with Robert Kirby and Duncan Hayes at United Agents, beating off competition from Little, Brown, Hodder, Penguin and Headline.</p><p>Davies said: &quot;Like the best projects, Simon&#39;s Cat was a word-of-mouth hit from day one. People found it on YouTube, loved it, and forwarded it on. The humour is refreshingly innocent which gives the characters the broadest possible appeal. I think we have a major new comic creation here&mdash;something to rival <em>The Bunny Suicides</em>, Purple Ronnie, and maybe even one day, Wallace<br />and Gromit.&quot;</p><p>The as-yet-untitled first book will be published as a gift format in hardback at the end of this year. The second book will be published for Christmas 2010. </p><p>According to Canongate, the pair of agents &quot;have already started talking to a number of film, television and merchandising companies about the Simon&#39;s Cat brand&quot;.</p><p>The publisher will be auctioning foreign rights at the London Book Fair in April, despite already having received &quot;interest from a number of international publishers&quot;.</p>