HarperCollins signs two pre-Bologna deals


Children’s Books has made two pre-Bologna deals, including a new title from Feather Boy author Nicky Singer.

Publishing director Rachel Denwood acquired world rights in The Flask by Nicky Singer from Clare Conville of Conville and Walsh.

The Flask tells the story of 12-year-old Jess who is grieving for her beloved Aunt Edie and awaiting the birth of her twin brothers. She finds a mysterious glass flask hidden in a desk and comes to believe that it contains a magical life-force. When her brothers are born conjoined and critically ill, she  becomes convinced that their survival depends on what’s happening to the flask.

HC will publish in February 2012. Denwood said: "The Flask is a book to cherish; a truly original, layered novel that teems with big ideas and yet reaches out to 9-11 readers through Jess's wonderfully accessible voice."

In a separate deal, publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh acquired world rights in a four-book deal to Martha and the Bunny Brothers, a new picture book series by Clara Vuilliamy. The deal, which includes film/TV and all merchandising, was concluded with Hilary Delamere at The Agency.

In the first title, lined up for April 2012, Martha is very excited about starting school, but is worried that her bunny brothers will miss her, so starts up The Happy Bunny Club.

Murtagh said: “It's a joy to be publishing Martha and the Bunny Brothers on the HarperCollins picturebook list—it really is pure sunshine in picture book form. Clara Vulliamy always produces beautifully child-centred picture books but in this new series she is on her best form ever.”

Vulliamy trained in Fine Art at the Ruskin School and the Royal Academy and is the daughter of author and illustrator Shirley Hughes.