Wilbur Smith moves to HarperCollins

HarperCollins has signed a world English language six-book deal with thriller writer Wilbur Smith, with some of the new books to be written with co-authors, the first time the author has worked in this way. The author is moving from Pan Macmillan after more than 45 years with the publisher.

William Morrow executive editor and vice president Daniel Mallory in the US and HarperFiction publisher Kate Elton and publishing director Katie Espiner in the UK acquired the titles through Kevin Conroy Scott of Tibor Jones and Associates.

The first book to be published with HC will be a sequel to River God, scheduled for Christmas 2014, which will mark 50 years of Smith's career.

HC will then publish up to two Smith novels a year, with "some pairing him with carefully selected co-authors".

Smith said: "I've been associated with Macmillan for over 45 years. I'd like to thank them for their continued commitment to my backlist and I look forward to continuing to work with them as they publish my next novel Vicious Circle in 2013. For the past few years my fans have made it very clear that they would like to read my novels and revisit my family of characters faster than I can write them. For them, I am willing to make a change to my working methods so the stories in my head can reach the page more frequently."

HCUK c.e.o. and publisher Victoria Barnsley said: "
Wilbur Smith is already a truly global brand and our offices across the world from Sydney, to Delhi, to Cape Town are looking forward to continuing to delight his existing loyal readers and also to introducing him to a whole new legion of fans.”

Pan Macmillan m.d. Anthony Forbes Watson said: "It's sad for Pan Macmillan to say goodbye to Wilbur at this point in his illustrious career and after 34 books, but we remain proud of our long and close association and wish him every success in his new adventure." He added that the publisher will continue to "develop his extensive backlist with our trademark vim and vigour".