Andersen Press will publish the first middle-grade novel from Carnegie Medal-winner Melvin Burgess, to be illustrated by Chris Mould.
Publishing director Charlie Sheppard bought world rights to Count from Millie Hoskins at United Agents, while audio rights were acquired by Bolinda Audio. The book will publish in paperback and audio in October.
Burgess is best-known as "the godfather of YA", but his new book is for a younger audience aged seven and over, which the publisher says creates "a surreal, anarchic story that explores modern attitudes towards fame, fortune and education".
The synopsis says: "Our hero Brandon is a boaster—he says he is brilliant at lots of things. Then he is challenged to count up to ten million. So Brandon starts, and before long he is up to one thousand. Everyone around him is bewildered and annoyed: his friend Waris, his teachers and Miss Hexx, the head. But Brandon can’t stop counting. And the higher he counts, the more everyone takes an interest. When Brandon reaches 30,000, he goes viral, and by the time he gets to one million, he has a manager and a stadium full of fans counting with him. Then strange, impossible things start happening. The numbers are taking over everything..."
Burgess said: "There has always been something magic about numbers. I was always dreadful at maths—but the way they just grow and pile up on top of one another, up as high as you like, with no end to them, ever, was magical to me. So the idea of a boy who counted up to ten million was born. What a startling achievement that would be! Surely he’d be an internet sensation? But what would school think? How would the world deal with a boy who could do such a magnificent, but at the same time apparently dull, thing?
"This is my first book for younger readers and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the book has turned out—when I saw Chris Mould’s work, the book came alive for me—his drawings are so characterful. I’ve not felt so pleased and proud of a book for a long time!"
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