Macmillan Children's Books has won a multi-publisher auction for a young fiction series by debut author Lola Morayo.
Aziza's Secret Fairy Door is the first title in the commercial five-book series, which is inspired by fairies from world mythology, aimed at readers aged six to eight. The series will be illustrated throughout in black and white by Cory Reid. It will publish in June 2021 in paperback, with a second title following in October.
Sarah Hughes, associate fiction publisher, secured world rights from 2020 Rising Star Jasmine Richards at Storymix, a fiction studio committed to promoting better representation in children’s books.
The series centres around Aziza, a young girl who lives with her parents and older brother in a city flat and stumbles across a portal to a magical world featuring a cast of fairies and magical creatures inspired by mythology from across the globe.
Hughes said: “What fairy-mad young reader hasn't dreamed of going through a magical portal, whether that be a rabbit hole, a wardrobe or a fairy door? This commercial young series has all the stardust, warmth and adventure needed to hook even the most reluctant readers. And Lola Morayo has all the talent to make her a future star.”
Lola Morayo, a pen name for journalist Tola Okogwu, commented: “I am so pleased to be working with Storymix and the fantastic team at Macmillan on this new series. Aziza is the little girl I wish I’d read about when I was young and I couldn’t be more honoured to bring her story to life for other children.”
Richards added: “Storymix is a platform for writers and illustrators of colour to show off their immense talent and an incubator of stories that are exciting, magical and inclusive. This series, our first to market, showcases both these elements brilliantly. I am delighted to be working with Macmillan to build a brand that children everywhere are going to love."