A series of high-profile acquistions have galvanised this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, including Alex Scarrow’s sensational move of publisher, an Egmont series on coding and a science fiction twist on the “sick lit” genre.
Macmillan Children’s Books announced a “substantial” three-book deal for Scarrow, bringing the TimeRiders author over to MCB from his long-time publisher Penguin. MCB 6+ publisher Venetia Gosling bought world and digital rights from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates.
The first in the trilogy, ReMade, will be published in 2016. It features a virus that takes on human form and can think, and is described as: “Cormac McCarthy’s The Road meets John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’.”
Gosling said the book was “fantastically alarming, utterly gripping and, combined with Alex’s trademark tense and pacey style, it feels like a surefire commercial hit. We can’t wait to publish it, and couldn’t be more delighted that he is joining our fiction list.”
At Egmont, licensing director Emma Cairns-Smith—who brokered Egmont’s hugely successful link-up with gaming company Minecraft—has bought world rights for three books with CoderDojo, a global community-based coding club for young people. Cairns-Smith completed the deal with CoderDojo co-founder Bill Liao.
The first book, CoderDojo Nano, focuses on building websites and will be released in April 2016. The other two books in the deal will then be published in six-month intervals.
Liao said: “Egmont’s massive success in publishing the Minecraft book series coupled with its overall expertise in children’s book made it a natural fit for CoderDojo to create a book series to get more kids coding together.”
A new series that combines John Green-esque “sick lit” with SFF has been sold by Madeleine Milburn from the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency. Kate Agar and Karen Ball at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (LBBYR) bought UK and Commonwealth rights in a “fabulous” deal for three books by writer and school librarian Kate Ling.
The trilogy, which begins with The Loneliness of Long Distant Beings, explore 16-year-old girl Seren’s struggles with depression, love and family set amid an epic space journey to find a planet similar to Earth.
And in a deal concluded just as The Bookseller Daily was going to press, Quercus acting editorial director Niamh Mulvey acquired world rights to a Middle Grade début with an “original and convincing take on living with a disability” by Amber Lee Dodd.
Mulvey bought We Are Giants directly from Dodd, who has since hired Hellie Ogden at Janklow & Nesbit. The book centres on young Sydney, who lives with his mother who has only grown to 124cm tall.