Scholastic has announced the next instalment in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series will be called The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
The publisher will print 2.5 million English language copies for bookshops, releasing it simultaneously in digital and audio formats for the US, Canada, UK and Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand on 19th May 2020. Translation rights have been sold by Stimola Literary Studio into 28 territories to date.
It will revisit the world of Panem 64 years before the events of the first books, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.
Collins said: “With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival. The reconstruction period ten years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days – as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet – provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”
The cover has also been revealed for the first time, with v.p. and publisher David Levithan explaining: “This cover does an extraordinary job of capturing the conflict – both inner and outer – that lies at the heart of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The mockingjay has returned, but at a new angle which is very much in line with the story that Suzanne Collins is telling.”
According to Nielsen data, the series has sold 3.9 million books for £21.8m in the UK, with the first book shifting 686,339 copies in paperback.
Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade, said: “It has been thrilling to see the growing excitement from readers around the globe for this new Hunger Games novel. Suzanne Collins is an expert storyteller and world-builder, and in revisiting the world of Panem, she again raises important questions about authority, the use of violence, and the truth of human nature.”