Puffin has announced the final book in Jacqueline Wilson’s and Nick Sharratt’s 30-year-partnership, The Runaway Girls.
Kelly Hurst, Puffin editorial director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from David Higham Associates for Wilson's The Runaway Girls, illustrated by Sharratt, which will be published in March 2021. It will be the last book illustrated by Sharratt before he moves on to focus on other illustration projects.
Next year will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the publication of The Story of Tracy Beaker that marked the start of the creative partnership between the two, who have worked on every book together since.
"Nick Sharratt’s bold, distinctive style has helped bring iconic characters like Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather to life. And, in The Runaway Girls, Nick has added his usual vibrancy to Jacqueline’s thrilling adventure about two girls from very different backgrounds who befriend each other on the streets of Victorian London, teaming up to keep themselves from the workhouse," said Puffin.
Wilson expressed her gratitude to Sharratt while she was also excited for the "new look" of future work.
"I've had a marvellous creative partnership with Nick for 30 years, and I'm deeply grateful to him for giving my books such eye-catching covers and incredible illustrations — my latest book with him, The Runaway Girls is no exception," she said. "I can understand however that the time has come for him to concentrate on his own work. I shall be sad to say goodbye to Nick and our very special brand — but I'm excited about the forthcoming new look for my future books."
Sharratt said: "It's been an amazing experience illustrating Jacqueline's books and having the opportunity to create the images for extraordinary characters like Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather. Working with Jacqueline herself has been a delight. The editor who first brought us together had a feeling we'd hit it off, and he was right! Therefore illustrating this, my final book with Jacqueline, has been bittersweet but 30 years later, it's time for me to pass the baton on to a new illustrator, while I focus full-time on other illustration projects."
Kelly Hurst, editorial director at Puffin said: "The Runaway Girls is Jacqueline’s most accessible and enjoyable historical novel to date, full of fantastic adventures on the streets of London. It will be a real gift to any teachers looking at Victorian life with their KS2 classes and it is, of course, a joy to read. Nick has illustrated the book beautifully, and we are incredibly thankfulfor the dedication Nick has given to illustrating Jacqueline’s books for the past 30 years. We wish him the very best for his future projects and are delighted Puffin is the home of many of his wonderful books."