Eight facts about Philip Pullman

Eight facts about Philip Pullman

This Thursday, the first in Philip Pullman's eagerly anticipated Book of Dust series, La Belle Sauvage (PRH Children's and David Fickling Books) - an "equel" to the Northern Lights series - will be released. 

As we count down the days to publication, our charts and data editor Kiera O'Brien has rounded up eight facts about Philip Pullman sales so far.

  1. 1

    Incredibly, Philip Pullman has never gone to the overall number one spot in the Nielsen BookScan era, but has racked up 12 weeks in the Children’s number one.

  2. 2

    His Dark Materials was a much slower burner than, say, Harry Potter—Northern Lights’ 1998 edition was the first of his books to hit the kids’ top spot, in 2004, nine years after the book was originally published. That edition is also Pullman’s biggest seller, just a whisker away from one million copies sold (976,469 copies sold to date).

  3. 3

    The only other title to take the Children’s number one is prequel title Once Upon A Time in the North, which tells the story of Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnisson’s first meeting. It has sold 67,764 copies to date.


  4. 4

    Companion title Lyra’s Oxford also sold well, shifting 125,681 copies in 2003.

  5. 5

    Pullman also scored an Original Fiction number one in 2010, with his adult title The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ hitting the top spot in April 2010.

  6. 6

    Northern Lights’ 1998 edition sold 344 copies on its first week on sale. The Book of Dust has a wide-open goal to achieve Pullman’s biggest-seller single week: the Northern Lights film tie-in edition sold 38,298 copies ahead of Christmas 2007.

  7. 7

    Despite The Amber Spyglass being published in hardback in 2000 and in paperback in 2001, Pullman’s biggest-selling year was 2002 (922,166 books sold) with 2003 actually bringing in even more money for the author—£5.67m (though he sold slightly fewer books).


  8. 8

    Northern Lights won the 1995 Carnegie Medal. It then went on to be named Carnegie of Carnegies in 2007, to mark the Medal’s 70th anniversary, winning a public vote. It also became the first Children’s title to win the Whitbread Book of the Year award.