Chris Wormell is to illustrate a new hardback gift edition of Northern Lights to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.
Northern Lights was originally released by Scholastic in 1995 and was edited by David Fickling. The book went on to claim the Carnegie Medal that year — later winning the “Carnegie of Carnegies” for the prize’s 70th anniverary in 2007 — and has shifted 2.1 million copies for £13.7m through Nielsen BookScan UK. Pullman’s books featuring Lyra Belacqua now stretch to five with Scholastic’s original trilogy and the recent Penguin Random House/David Fickling Books co-published Book of Dust titles.
Sales were boosted by the HBO/BBC mini-series adaptation starring Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda which aired in November and December 2019. The second series is due to be broadcast later this year.
Scholastic fiction publisher Lauren Fortune acquired UK & Commonwealth rights to the Northern Lights illustrated text from Caradoc King and Millie Hoskins at United Agents. Scholastic creative director Andrew Biscomb, meanwhile, bought world rights in Wormell’s art from Stephanie Alexander at Artworks.
Pullman said of the original publication that “with a following wind [I thought] it might sell a thousand copies or so and keep me in bread and margarine till I finished the next one”. He added: “I could never have foreseen the astounding response that book, and its two sequels, received from readers all over the world, and is continuing to get now — including a splendid TV version...this new edition is a great delight for me, and I hope people who already know Lyra and her friends will all buy new copies, and that readers who haven’t come across them yet will enjoy them too.”
Wormell has written and illustrated over 30 books, including George and the Dragon (Puffin), Dinosaurium (Big Picture) and The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit (Red Fox). He has been the artist for the two Book of Dust titles and a recent rejacketing of His Dark Materials.
Scholastic will publish the Northern Lights hardback gift edition in November, priced £30.