Canongate confirms Brand kids' books buy

Canongate confirms Brand kids' books buy

Canongate has confirmed it is the publisher for a series of children's books by controversial comedian Russell Brand, revealed by the comic in a YouTube video yesterday (1st April).

The three books in the series will be illustrated by Chris Riddell, with the first book, titled Russell Brand's The Pied Piper of Hamelin, being released in hardback on 6th November this year, priced at £12.99.

Publisher and m.d. Jamie Byng signed world rights to the series, called Russell Brand's Trickster Tales, in a deal with Nik Linnen from John Noel Management on behalf of Brand, and Philippa Milnes-Smith at LAW on behalf of Riddell.

North American rights to the series have been pre-empted by Judith Curr, publisher at Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books.

The series was revealed online yesterday, with Brand reading the opening lines of the book: "Once upon a time, long ago, in a time that seemed to those present, exactly like now, except their teeth weren't so clean and more things were wooden, there was a town called Hamelin."

He said: "It's the first of a series called Russell Brand's Trickster Tales, where I do interpretations of fairy stories and folk tales, believing them to be the code to unlock aspects of our consciousness, and to affect and impact the way that we see the world."
Brand added: "Once we start changing the way children see the world… we can do all sorts of stuff."

Riddell described the books as a "very special series". He said: "Russell's voice is unique - funny, wise and engaging, perfectly matched by Canongate's innovative and ambitious publishing and consistently superb production values.  And there will be rats, lots and lots of rats!"

Brand, a former drug addict-turned comedian and presenter, sparked controversy over phone calls made with fellow radio presenter Jonathan Ross to actor Andrew Sachs, which saw him leave his radio show. He has since found success in Hollywood, as well as writing for the Guardian, guest-editing the New Statesman, and writing five books. His first autobiography My Booky Wook (Hodder & Stoughton) released in 2007, has sold 826,336 copies through Nielsen Bookscan.

Riddell won the 2013 Costa Book Award (children's category) for Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse, and has previously won two Kate Greenaway medals and three Nestle Smarties Book Prizes.

Byng said: "The pairing of Russell and Chris is a match made in heaven and their series of illustrated retellings has the potential to become a worldwide phenomenon.  We are enormously excited at the prospect of publishing these two creative geniuses.”