HarperCollins division Egmont has acquired three books from debut children’s author Ian Mark in a "heated" six-way auction.
Lindsey Heaven, fiction publishing director, and Liz Bankes, editorial director, secured world rights from Sam Copeland at RCW. Monster Hunting for Beginners will launch as a lead title for Egmont in August 2021, with further books in the middle-grade series to be published at nine-month intervals.
The synopsis reads: "Monster hunting isn’t as easy as it looks. And Jack should know. Because an ogre has just appeared in his garden and tried to eat his aunt. After (sort of accidentally) defeating the aunt-eating ogre, Jack finds himself apprenticed to a grumpy, 200-year-old monster hunter called Stoop. And when the town of King’s Nooze is under attack from an army of ogres, it’s time for Jack’s monster-hunting adventure to begin. All Jack has are his wits, his catapult and a magical—sometimes unreliable—book called Monster Hunting for Beginners. But is he the hero they’ve all been waiting for?"
The series will be illustrated by Louis Ghibault and will feature a monster hunting guide—a book within a book—which will profile the different monsters so readers can collect monster facts as they go through the series.
Heaven said: "When Ian’s joyously funny debut landed in our inboxes, we knew we’d found something truly special and that we’d do anything to have it on the list—including fighting snot-dribbling monsters! It’s an astounding accomplishment for a debut writer to speak to their young readership in such a magical and hilarious way and we can’t wait to launch Monster Hunting for Beginners as the new shining star of children’s fiction."
Mark commented: "I wanted to be a writer from the time I wrote my first story in school. It was about how St Francis tamed a vicious wolf who was dining out on the locals in a nearby town. The teacher gave it a simple binding and made it into a book. That was me hooked. In a way, my own story has now come full circle—Monster Hunting for Beginners has been a part of my life for the longest time and it’s beyond exciting that it’s found the perfect home at Egmont. I couldn’t have asked for more for Jack and his merry—and sometimes not so merry—band of monsters. I can’t wait for readers to step into that world and discover it for themselves, and make it their own."
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