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Penguin wins new Almond titles in six-figure deal
11.10.09 | Philip Jones
Penguin has won the auction for two new novels by Skellig author David Almond. Puffin and Viking have jointly acquired the two titles paying a "good six figures" for UK and Commonwealth rights after a "hot" pre-Frankfurt auction that was reported yesterday in The Bookseller. The books mark Almond's move into adult fiction.
The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean will be published in September 2011 in simultaneous hardback and paperback editions for both the children’s and adult markets. Almond said: "I am really delighted. Penguin will provide the perfect home for my new work."
Catherine Clarke at the Felicity Bryan Agency is anticipating a "lot of excitement" for the remaining rights, with the book likely to become one of the hottest items at the Frankfurt Book Fair next week. She said: "David Almond is one of our finest writers, and the passionate commitment and vision of his publishers at Viking and Puffin will ensure that The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean will bring him many, many new readers - adults and older children alike - who have yet to discover him."
Elv Moody, editorial director Classic Puffin was the primary acquirer. She said: "I've admired David Almond for many years as a writer of exceptional talent, and his extraordinary new book immediately captivated us all with its haunting, distinctive voice. It’s an absolute privilege to welcome him to Puffin."
At Viking, Tony Lacey added: "I came to Skellig long after most people, but was completely bowled over by it when I read it a couple of years ago. I then became a bit of an Almond stalker - even going so far as to record his Radio 3 Private Passions programme when I was away for the weekend. Imagine the joy to be offered Billy Dean, which promises to be a truly remarkable novel: vivid, haunting and completely original. What a treat all those adult readers have in store who haven't read David Almond's work before!"
Almond's Mina's Story, a prequel to Skellig, his first children's book, will be published by Hodder in 2010. Almond will also publish a picture book, Slog's Dad, with Walker next year. Clarke said: "He's not decided on plans beyond that in the children's market."
Influenced by the Kaspar Hauser legends, "Edward Scissorhands" and A Clockwork Orange, The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean is the life of a secret child, the son of a priest and a hairdresser. To the public, he was once known as an angel, then as a saint, and now is a monster. Writing his own story, Billy Dean explores the nature of language and storytelling, of innocence and evil, body and spirit, truth and fiction.