HCCB snaps up Naidoo's first novel in over a decade

HCCB snaps up Naidoo's first novel in over a decade

HarperCollins Children’s Books has snapped up a "poignant" new middle-grade fiction title by Carnegie Medal-winning Beverley Naidoo, her first novel in more than a decade. 

Rights for Children of the Stone City were acquired in a "major" UK and US co-publication deal. Michelle Misra, editorial director at HarperCollins Children’s Books acquired world rights alongside Rosemary Brosnan, v.p. and editorial director at Quill Tree Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books in the US, from Hilary Delamere at The Agency. Children of the Stone City will publish simultaneously in the UK and US in October 2022.

It is set in a world where Adam and Leila and their friend Zak "live as Nons under the Permitted ruling class". The publisher said: "Children of the Stone City is a thrilling, resonant and inspiring novel about justice, privilege and the power of the young to strive for change. When Adam and Leila’s father dies unexpectedly, their mother faces losing her permit to live in the Stone City with deportation to where she was born. Before music-loving Adam can implement his plan to save Mama, Zak is arrested for a bold prank that goes wrong, with far-reaching repercussions for them all."

Naidoo commented: "I felt compelled to write this novel. Its spark was lit by deeply philosophical questions about equality and justice from young refugees. They had heard me read from my work and speak about growing up as a 'Permitted' child in apartheid South Africa, oblivious to the lives of the majority of children. I’m delighted that Children of the Stone City will join Journey to Jo’burg on the HarperCollins Children’s list as I feel they are linked by an invisible arc."

Misra said: "This beautifully written, accessible and thought-provoking book couldn’t be more timely. To publish a new novel from Beverley—a true legend of children’s literature, and the author of the ground-breaking Journey to Jo’burg, one of the best-selling and most enduring novels on our modern classics list—is a proud moment for me and for all of us at HarperCollins. It is a future classic in the making."

Brosnan added: "We are thrilled to publish a new novel by distinguished author Beverley Naidoo. This was well worth the wait; this powerful novel will be enjoyed by young readers and will also lead them to ponder some of the most thought-provoking issues of our time."