Puffin bags two Copeland middle-grade standalones

Puffin bags two Copeland middle-grade standalones

Sam Copeland is to write two new standalone middle-grade titles for Puffin, teaming up again with his Charlie Changes Into a Chicken illustrator, Sarah Horne.

The first title, to be published in February 2021, Uma and the Answer to Absolutely Everything, is described as “[Frank Cottrell Boyce’s] Millions meets ‘The Goonies’”. The comedy adventure is about a girl on a quest for the answers to life’s impossible questions, while trying to save her hometown from developers.

Puffin fiction publisher Ben Horslen bought world rights to Uma… and the second title from Julia Churchill at A M Heath. Horne was represented by Jodie Hodges of United Agents.

 Copeland is an agent at RCW whose diverse list of clients include the crime writer Alex Michaelides, YA author Holly Jackson and broadcaster/author Simon Mayo; he has just been shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year at this year's British Book Awards. His début title, Charlie Changes Into a Chicken, published by Puffin in 2019, was the second bestselling middle-grade début last year and is on the younger readers shortlist for the 2020 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. The third in the Charlie series, Charlie Morphs Into a Mammoth, was released last month.  

Horslen said: “In little more than a year, Charlie Changes Into a Chicken has established Sam as one of the most exciting voices in children's fiction. The new book offers the same irresistible blend of humour and heart, mixing laugh-out-loud moments with real emotional power.”

Copeland added: “Despite giving cast-iron assurances to the reading public I wouldn’t be producing any more books, I’m afraid to say I lied. I’m publishing more books and there’s nothing you can do about it. The blackmail I have over Penguin Random House Books still stands, so they will be publishing or I release the file of photos I have. I have no further comment at this time.”