HarperCollins Children's pre-empts Steven Camden

HarperCollins Children's pre-empts Steven Camden

HarperCollins Children's Books has acquired a debut project from spoken word poet Steven Camden, known as Polarbear, which will be released across a range of media.

Nick Lake, fiction publication director, bought world rights in all languages for TAPE and one further standalone novel from Cathryn Summerhayes at WME, in what was described as a "significant" pre-emptive bid made a week after receiving the first three chapters.

TAPE will launch in February 2014, released as a conventional hardback and e-book, but also take the form of digital storytelling, with readers able to respond and add to the narrative online.

Lake said: "Steven is a stratospheric talent, and TAPE is quite simply one of the most beautiful and accessible teen debuts I have read—as vividly visual, funny and often intensely moving as his performance poetry. With the groundbreaking digital iteration and Steven’s experience of telling stories in a variety of media, this is going to be a unique publishing event."

The story revolves around Ryan, recording a diary on tape in 1993, and Ameliah, a girl who discovers the tape in 2013 after the death of her parents.

Camden has performed his poetry around the world, with a YouTube video of his poem Jessica receiving more than 90,000 views.