HarperCollins Children’s Books has signed a multi-book deal with Steven Lenton which will see a string of picture books and younger fiction titles expand the illustrator's brand.
Nick Lake, fiction publisher, and Kate Burns, colour publisher, acquired world rights from Sallyanne Sweeney at MMBCreative in a multi-publisher auction. The exclusive deal, with the exception of Lenton's existing book commitments, secures his publishing to HCCB until 2024.
Lenton has sold more than one million titles through Nielsen BookScans TCM, according to HarperCollins. His work includes picture books, along with fiction collaborations such as Shifty McGifty with Tracey Corderoy (Nosy Crow) and The Nothing to See Here Hotel with Steven Butler (S&S Children's). He has previously worked with HarperCollins as illustrator for David Baddiel’s Head Kid and The Taylor Turbochaser.
HarperCollins said the new publishing would expand his portfolio and develop a range of books “that will delight readers of all ages”. The first book published as part of the new deal is Genie and Teeny, a new series for five to eight-year-olds, which will mark his fiction debut as both author and illustrator.
Its synopsis explains: “When Grant the Genie is expelled from Genie World, he sets up home in an old teapot. With his new friend, the dog Teeny, they find themselves on a rollercoaster of an adventure. But when Genie and Teeny are kidnapped by the evil purple-loving Lavinia Lavender they find they might have bitten off more than they can chew…”
The first book in the Genie and Teeny series, Make a Wish, will publish in the UK in paperback, e-book and audio in February 2021, followed by the second in August 2021. Further details on the picture books, launching in autumn 2021, are still to be announced.
Lenton said: “I am so excited that Grant the Genie and Teeny the dog have found the perfect home with HarperCollins. Having already worked with the team, I know that not only will we create some lovely books together, but we will also have a blast doing so. A big thank-you to all the team for having faith in my first foray into illustrated fiction as both author and illustrator and here’s to many more wishes coming true!”
Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books said: “We are incredibly excited to be working with Steven to create a family portfolio of publishing across picture books and young fiction. The five-to-eight age group is a key area of strategic growth for HarperCollins, and Steven’s wonderful creativity and hilarious story telling will be at the heart of our drive to create powerful new brands for a younger audience.”