Orion Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Books, has acquired a middle-grade novel set in the Himalayas by debut author Jess Butterworth.
Running on the Roof of the World is about a 12-year-old called Tash, whose parents are seized by soldiers. Along with her friend Sam, she leaves Tibet, via the Himalayas, to seek help from the Dalai Lama in India.
Felicity Johnston, commissioning editor at Orion Children’s Books, acquired world rights from Sallyanne Sweeney of Mulcahy Associates in a two-book deal.
“Jess is a remarkable new talent,” said Johnston. “There’s an extraordinary energy in her writing, and a wonderful sense of place, with all the sights, smells and tastes you could wish for. ‘Khaled Hosseini meets Rooftoppers’; Running on the Roof of the World is a tale of adventure with a political edge. It’s also a story that weaves its surroundings into the journey, painting a vivid picture of beautiful landscapes from Tibet to the Himalayas. It’s rare to find a debut novel so fresh and different – we can’t wait to publish it.”
Butterworth studied writing for young people at Bath Spa and spent time living in India as part of her research for Running on the Roof of the World.
Publication is set for 2017.