Simon & Schuster Children's is to publish Nick Lake's middle-grade debut, Locked Out Lily, featuring black and white illustrations by Emily Gravett.
Rachel Denwood, m.d, acquired world rights for two books from Millie Hoskins and Caradoc King at United Agents. World rights for Emily Gravett’s illustrations were bought from Philippa Milnes-Smith at The Soho Agency.
The story is aimed at readers aged 9 and over, and will be published on 30th September 2021, with a second as yet untitled novel to follow in 2022.
Described as "atmospheric" and "magical", the novel's synopsis explains: "Lily just wants things to go back to the way they were: before she got sick, before her parents decided to have another baby. So when she’s sent away to stay with her grandmother while her mum has the baby, Lily is determined to go home. But she doesn’t expect to find people in her house – people who look like her parents, but definitely aren’t. Together with some unlikely animal companions, Lily must face her fears and summon the courage to break into her own house, and defeat ‘The Replacements’ before the night is out."
Denwood said: "We can’t wait to publish this remarkable novel launching Nick Lake’s middle-grade writing career. Nick’s passion for children’s books is palpable on every page and he’s created a new classic here. There are so many things I love about this book – the spookiness, the page-turning suspense, wonderful, loveable Lily – but it is the marvelous talking animals who join Lily on her magical adventure that make it such an unforgettable read. And what an honour to have Emily Gravett illustrate – this is going to be a very special publication next year."
Lake has written several YA novels and is the winner of the Michael L Printz Award. He was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Prize three times. He said: "Locked out Lily is a love letter to children's books, and I am so pleased and proud that S&S will be publishing it – bringing me full circle back to the house of my very first book, as well as to several brilliant people I have worked with in my parallel editing life, and giving Lily the most welcoming of homes. That Emily Gravett is bringing her boundless talent to Lily and her animals is a magic spell made real."
Gravett sprang into the limelight with her picture book Wolves, in 2005, which won the Macmillan Prize for Illustration, which was followed by a book deal and the first of her Kate Greenaway Medals. She has now published over 20 picture books in more than 20 languages.