Scholastic UK has acquired Striking Out, a novel for children based on the life of footballer Ian Wright. The title is written by Wright in partnership with Musa Okwonga.
Leah James, publishing manager, acquired world rights from Roscoe Bowman of Squad Sports representing Wright and Abi Fellows of The Good Literary Agency representing Okwonga.
Aimed at children aged nine plus, Striking Out will follow the journey of 13-year-old Jerome, who has a dream of becoming a world-class footballer. With his difficult life, Jerome can't see how he'll ever make this dream come true, until he meets a mentor figure whom he hopes can put him on the right track.
Wright commented: "In football, the biggest battles that you fight will always be far away from the pitch, and that is why I am excited for this book: because it will allow me to share my journey – not only the triumphs, but most importantly the challenges – in a way that will hopefully help and inspire young people who are going through their own hard times. And if I can make it, if Jerome can make it, then maybe they can too."
Okwonga added: "It is an honour and a privilege to work with Ian on this. He constantly encourages young people not only to persevere, but to be brave enough to address their greatest fears, and these messages are more important than ever. I am looking forward to sharing his and Jerome's story with you."
James said: "Working with such inspirational people as Ian and Musa is a real delight – I have no doubt that Jerome's story will help children who are going through their own struggles to dream big. We are thrilled to welcome this winning team to the Scholastic family."
Okwonga is the author of books including Football Legends: Raheem Sterling (Scholastic, 2020). He is also the co-host of the "Stadio" football podcast.
Striking Out will be published in hardback in September 2021.