Bloomsbury Children’s has bought two middle grade titles from debut author Katya Balen.
The first title, The Space We’re In, is about 10-year-old Frank and his little brother Max, who doesn’t like bright colours and will only eat very specific food. When tragedy strikes, Frank has to learn new ways to understand the world, his brother and himself. Bloomsbury will publish in spring 2019 with a second title following a year later.
Publishing director Rebecca McNally and editor Lucy Mackay-Smith bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates.
McNally said: “This is a gobsmackingly good book – immediate and engaging, it’s an unforgettable read. Katya Balen has a wonderfully natural, unforced voice for middle-grade readers that is both beautiful and accessible. She is an important new talent.”
Balen has an MPhil researching the impact of stories on autistic children’s behaviour and has worked in several special needs schools as a teaching assistant. She recently co-founded Mainspring Arts, a not-for-profit that provides mentoring and creative opportunities for neurodivergent adults.