Usborne has snapped up a Middle Grade standalone from The Cogheart Adventures author Peter Bunzl, inspired by the true story of a feral child brought to London by George I and raised at Kensington Palace. Usborne fiction editorial director Rebecca Hill acquired world rights to Magicborn from Jo Williamson at Antony Harwood.
Bunzl was introduced to the story of Peter the Wild Boy at a school event at Kensington Palace. The real-life Peter was found naked and unable to speak in a German forest in 1725; he was brought to London and became a sensational public curiosity, written about by the likes of Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe. Bunzl’s tale is told through the eyes of Tempest, “a girl with a story as strange as Peter’s—and another one of the palace’s imprisoned curiosities”.
Bunzl’s three Cogheart titles have shifted almost 90,000 copies in the UK, and have been translated into 14 languages—but Usborne fiction rights executive Lauren Robertson said she hoped to hit 20 languages “soon after this year’s Bologna.”