Corsair publisher James Gurbutt and editor Sarah Castleton are launching a "bijou imprint" for books for children and young adults at Constable & Robinson. The Much-in-Little imprint will feature six or seven new books a year, with Walker Books selling in the titles.
The first book is The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente, to be released in June. A second Fairyland book is planned for next year, entitled The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, and there will be further titles in the series to follow.
In a deal signed just before London Book Fair, Castleton also acquired a zombie dystopia series for the imprint by South African author Lily Herne, the pen-name of mother-and-daughter writing team Sarah and Savannah Lotz. The books focus on the survivors of a zombie apocalypse living in walled enclaves, where a renegade gang of teenagers hold power. The first books in the series, Deadlands and Death of a Saint, will be published in 2013 as £6.99 b-format paperbacks.
Castleton said the idea for the imprint arose in discussions between her and Gurbutt, saying: "Lots of things that I had been reading had been submitted as adult novels, and I thought they had real crossover potential. It's part of Corsair and Constable & Robinson expanding—it's an area of the market that everyone needs to get involved in. We wanted to have a bijou space to delineate it, and make sure everyone knew our intentions."
On the name, Castleton said: "I was thinking about the idea of imagination and the potential of a child's imagination, and the Tardis-like nature of books, of them being more than they seem between the covers. It is a perfect encapsulation of what reading should be."
Castleton added: "I think that the YA market seemed to be really vibrant [at LBF], with lots of fantasy stuff going on and lots of dystopian stuff still going on." She predicted that the next big theme for children's publishing could be "possibly robots, genetics, maybe even climate change".
Castleton claimed: "A lot of people were saying that authors who have written adult novels are now thinking of YA novels as a way of trying their hand at new modes of writing—it is something that is cropping up as something that existing authors can do to reinvent themselves, which is quite exciting."