Canongate has acquired a children’s book by Matt Haig about the early life of Father Christmas.
Set in 18th-century Finland, A Boy Called Christmas is about elves, reindeer, a kidnapping, and an 11-year-old boy called Nikolas who isn't afraid to believe in magic. It will include illustrations by Chris Mould.
Haig said he had the idea, which just “had to be written” last Christmas. “It was fun, exploring how Father Christmas got his powers. But I don’t feel Father Christmas’s back story is all sugar, so there is some darkness there, and some emotional stuff. It has been a joy to see the book itself develop, and Canongate have got behind it 100%.
“Seeing the illustrations emerge has been tantalising, and I think we have had amazing luck in finding ChrisMould.”
Canongate publishing director Francis Bickmore acquired world rights to the book from Clare Conville at Conville and Walsh, and world rights to Mould’s illustrations from Penny Holroyde at Holroyde Cartey. It has already received “huge” interest in film rights.
Francis Bickmore publishing director at Canongate, said: “Father Christmas is the original super-hero. And Matt Haig, master of big hearted story-telling, is the perfect writer to bring his early years to life. In the utterly brilliant Chris Mould, Matt has found the perfect creative partner. I can see this book lighting up so many faces young and old this Christmas, and for many Christmases to come.”
A Boy Called Christmas will be published in the UK in hardback on the 5th November 2015.