HarperCollins Children's executive publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh has acquired world rights to four books - two novels, a novella and an illustrated gift title - by Michael Morpurgo. Murtagh struck the deal with Veronique Baxter at David Higham, with the books due for publication between now and 2022.
HarperCollins did not give any further details about the books but Murtagh said: “We are incredibly proud to publish Michael on the HarperCollins list. Michael is a master storyteller at the height of his powers, brimming with ideas and we are hugely excited to be bringing more new books to his readers of all ages… We look forward to unveiling his new titles as part of our exciting publishing growth plans in the years ahead.”
Next month (February) HarperCollins is running a promotional campaign called ‘Morpurgo Month’ and will promote 16 of the author's books grouped into four themes: 'Animal Adventures', 'Times of War', 'The Natural World', and 'Tales Retold'. Material on offer includes lesson plans for schools, POS kits for bookshops, competitions and videos of Morpurgo talking about his books.
Morpurgo said: “For more than two decades now I have been working with HarperCollins Children’s Books. I dream up my stories and write them - and I have written many now, because I am quite old, and I love telling stories. But HarperCollins Children’s Books, for a long time now, along with my other publishers of shorter stories, have supported me faithfully in all I try to do.
“It is that faith and support this writer most needs, the twin pillars of confidence. They know at HCCB that every new book for me is like a first book, no matter how many I may have written. I need the confidence a great publisher can give, just as much now as I ever did. They are sensitive and patient and kind, and clever too. They know how to tease a book out of an author. On the difficult journey that is the making of a book they are the best of companions.”
Morpurgo has 30 books on the HarperCollins list and has sold more than 35 million books worldwide, according to the publisher. Through Nielsen BookScan he has sold 7.8 million books for £42.3m.