Scholastic is publishing a middle-grade novel about "a warren of kid-sized tunnels under a town", a novel its author Dave Eggers says he has been thinking about for a decade.
The Lifters was acquired by Samantha Selby Smith, fiction and picture books publisher at Scholastic from Jocelyn Lange, Random House Children's Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House US, for UK and Commonwealth rights.
It will be published on 28th March 2018 simultaneously with the US, where Katherine Harrison will edit for Knopf.
Illustrators Eric and Terry Fan are illustrating the book which Eggers said he has been thinking about for a decade.
The novel is about a boy named Granite (“Gran”), with problems at home, and Catalina Catalan, an enigmatic girl from school who surprises Gran one day by placing a door handle against a hillside and swinging it open to reveal an underground world “filled with terrors and wonders”.
Eggers said: “The Lifters has been on my mind for almost ten years. That’s when I had the idea that a simple cupboard handle could open a hillside to a warren of kid-sized tunnels under a town—and that it would be up to these kids to keep everyone living aboveground upright and safe."
He added: "My goal was to write the book I would have wanted to read when I was a middle-grader, with enough adventure and jokes and mystery to keep even an antsy reader engaged. The Fan brothers added fantastic illustrations that give the book the timeless feel I was hoping for.”
Harrison said: “Dave Eggers is a masterful storyteller, and in The Lifters, he establishes himself as a literary voice who can captivate readers of any age.”
She described it as having “all the makings of a children’s classic”.
Eggers is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco and is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of seven youth tutoring centres which inspired Ministry of Stories in London and Fighting Words in Dublin.
Last year Eggers’ The Circle (Penguin) was described as “the single most paradigmatic bestseller of the past 30 years” by the authors of The Bestseller Code.
Eggers' comic view of America in the 21st century, Heroes of the Frontier, was published by Hamish Hamilton in July 2016.
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