Italian investigative journalist and writer Roberto Saviano is returning to Pan Macmillan to publish his first two novels, about children's gangs patrolling the streets of Naples for the mafia.
Ravi Mirchandani, associate publisher at Picador, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in The Children’s Gang and its forthcoming sequel from Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency.
Saviano published his debut exposé denouncing the Neapolitan Mafia, Gomorrah: Italy's Other Mafia, with Macmillan in the UK in 2007. The non-fiction went on to sell over 225,000 copies in the UK and over 4 million copies worldwide to date, and inspired a TV series. However, he also received death threats after releasing the book and has had to live under police protection since 2006 . In 2011, he won the PEN/Pinter writer of courage award.
He published ZeroZeroZero, his 2013 exposé of dirty money and the drug trade, with Allen Lane in the UK.
The first book in the new deal with Pan Macmillan is La paranza dei bambini (The Children’s Gang), a novel set in Naples. It again focuses on Italy's mafia and will be published by Picador in Autumn 2018. It was first published in November 2016 with Feltrinelli in Italy, where it sold over 400,000 copies. Translation rights have sold in 12 languages to date.
In the book, a new kind of gang rules the streets, the "Paranze", or the "Children’s Gangs" where groups of teenage boys divide their time between Facebook or playing Call of Duty on their PlayStations, and patrolling the streets armed with pistols and AK-47s, terrorising local residents in order to mark out their mafia bosses’ territories.
It tells the story of the rise of one such gang and its leader, Nicolas, known to his friends and enemies as the "Maharajah". But Nicolas’s ambitions reach far beyond doing other men’s bidding - he wants to be the one giving orders, calling the shots, and ruling the city. But the violence he is accustomed to wielding and witnessing soon spirals out of his control.
Mirchandani said: "Roberto Saviano's Gomorra has been one of the most remarkable international publishing sensations of the last decade. I am delighted that he is returning to Pan Macmillan for his equally gripping and revealing first novel; to be joining Feltrinelli, our US colleagues at Farrar, Straus and Sig. Saviano's other fine international publishers in publishing his fiction; and that we will be publishing him on Picador for the first time."
The sequel, picking up where La paranza dei bambini left off, will be published in Italy in Summer 2017.