Puffin, a division of Penguin Random House (PRH) Children’s, has acquired the debut fiction trilogy by illustrator Jamie Littler in a six-figure deal.
Commissioning editor Naomi Colthurst bought world English rights to Frostheart from Emily Talbot, who was acting on behalf of Jodie Hodges at United Agents, in a seven-way auction. Puffin then sold US rights to Ken Wright at Viking, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, “within hours”.
Frostheart, described as “Nevermoor meets Frozen with a dash of How to Train Your Dragon” by Puffin, is set in a world where the humans are cut off from the rest of their kind by the monsters that lurk beneath the snow sea. There, a boy called Ash waits for the return of his missing parents, not knowing that he will soon be whisked aboard the ‘Frostheart’, a sleigh full of explorers who need his help.
Littler, whose illustration work includes Danny Wallace’s Hamish and the Worldstopper series (Simon & Schuster), said: “Since I can remember, I have loved telling stories. From the countless hours I pored over fantasy adventure books as a child (doing my very best to draw and imitate them), to the many authors' works I have been so fortunate to have been able to illustrate as an adult, storytelling is all I have ever really wanted to do.”
Colthurst added: “Having always been an enormous fan of Jamie’s illustrative work, I was hugely excited when his manuscript arrived in my inbox. A breathless overnight read confirmed what I had hoped – that not only is he an illustrator capable of bringing gorgeous, warm and funny characters and worlds to life through art, he’s astonishingly good at creating them through prose too. We’re very excited to share the first book with readers later this year, and are looking forward to launching Jamie as a major new talent in middle-grade fiction.”
Puffin will publish the first book in the trilogy on 31st October 2019, accompanied by a “major” PR and marketing campaign.
United Agents are managing world rights and have sold German rights sold to Oetinger at auction, world Spanish rights to RBA in a pre-empt and Dutch Rights to Luitingh Sithoff, also in a pre-empt.