Publisher David Fickling and authors including Jenny Downham and Chris Wormell presented some of David Fickling Books’ upcoming titles at a showcase held last night (29th April) in London.
Fickling said his publishing house, which he launched in Oxford in 2013, produces some of the “best books not only in the UK, but in the world… We are a small company but we sell everywhere."
This autumn will see the release of Philip Pullman’s second installment in The Book of Dust, entitled The Secret Commonwealth. Fickling edits the series, which is sold and marketed by Penguin Random House.
“The Secret Commonwealth is just stunning,” he said. “It’s a brilliant story you can’t stop reading and, like all great works of art, made me feel like life was just winning.” He also praised Penguin Random House, saying: “We like partnering with other companies. We edit and make sure the book looks good and they tell everyone about it. I can’t thank them enough!”
Downham took to the stage to introduce her autumn title Furious Thing, a YA novel about a teenage girl who tries to suppress her rage. She said she wanted to explore the “small, aggressive acts” that chip away at the confidence of women, adding: “Lots of women battle for their place in the world and I hope Lexi’s story encourages more of them.”
Wormel, the illustrator on Pullman's The Book of Dust, talked about his debut fiction novel The Magic Place (also out this autumn), and Martin Brown, an illustrator who worked with Fickling on the Horrible Histories series (Scholastic), presented his Lesser Spotted Animals series, which is about the mammals that don’t normally feature in children’s books. The next title in the series is out at the end of May.
Lisa Williamson, a YA writer, spoke about Paper Avalanche, her last novel about a girl whose mother is a hoarder, and gave hints about the new book she is working on, which is about a girl whose friend doesn’t turn up to school to get her GCSE results.
Other writers and illustrators who took part in the showcase were Candy Gourlay, Dan Freedman, Lissa Evans, Simon Mason, Jamie Smart and Adam Stower.
Fickling also encouraged the audience to pick up a copy of Mal Peet’s Mr Godley’s Phantom, published by DFB last October. “Mal died in 2015 and he was the most extraordinary writer. Mr Godley’s Phantom is short and brilliant. Go and read Mal and tell the world about Mal Peet, he needs to be read!”