A new Paddington picture book by the late Michael Bond is publishing with HarperCollins Children’s Books in June 2018. The publication will coincide with the 60th anniversary of the first Paddington Bear book.
Bond wrote Paddington at St Paul’s before his death aged 91 in June 2017, following his involvement in the National Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s 90th Birthday, which was held at St Paul’s Cathedral
Paddington at St Paul’s has been illustrated by RW Alley, who has illustrated Paddington Bear since 1997, and its plot sees "chaos ensue" as the world famous bear is mistaken for a choirboy during a visit to Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic building.
Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher at HarperCollins Children’s Books, called the book Bond's "parting gift to all his fans" as a "simply classic Paddington story, brimming with curiosity, charm and affectionate exuberance".
"We are deeply honoured to be publishing the final Paddington story from our most cherished author Michael Bond," she said, adding: "It is delightfully illustrated by Bob Alley who worked closely with Michael for many years and in a beautiful serendipity is set in St Paul’s Cathedral where we will be celebrating Michael’s life and works next week. We will publish this book to launch the 60th Anniversary of Paddington’s creation next year fulfilling our promise to ensure that Michael’s beloved bear will continue to delight children in the future as he has enchanted generations of children in the past."
HarperCollins Children’s Books will represent World English language, digital and audio rights for the book, acquired from Hilary Delamere at The Agency (London) Ltd. The e-book and audiobook will publish simultaneously in June 2018.
Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel, added: “If the outpouring of wonderful messages of condolence we received from my father’s fans is anything to go by, there will be many people who will be delighted to learn there is another Paddington book to look forward to. Our family feel immensely proud that we will be honouring his life at St Paul’s Cathedral and the fact that this is the setting for his final story makes it very special indeed.”
Bond’s Memorial Service will take place at St Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday 14th November, and there will be a celebration of Bond’s life, attended by family, friends, colleagues from across his career, and those associated with the world of books and reading. Seats are available to fans and well-wishers from the public on eventbrite (free of charge, altough limited). Leading the tributes will be his daughter and family, Murtagh, and Hugh Bonneville, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin from the cast of "Paddington 2".