UCLan snaps up Houston's 'enticing' middle grade tale

UCLan snaps up Houston's 'enticing' middle grade tale

UCLan Publishing has signed an “enticing” middle grade folklore fiction book from author Gabriela Houston.

Publisher Hazel Holmes bought UK rights from John Baker of the Bell Lomax Moreton agency.

Released in paperback in February 2022, The Wind Child is inspired by the Pre-Christian Slavic folklore of the author’s childhood and the vast forests of her native Poland. UCLan said: ”The book is perfect for fans of the enthralling adventure of Cressida Cowell’s The Wizards of Once, and the mysticism of Diana Wynne Jones. Packed with a colourful Slavic cast of tempestuous gods and frightening monsters, it is above all a story about friendship and how far you would go and what you would sacrifice to avoid saying goodbye to someone you love.”

Houston moved to London from Poland when she was 19 to complete her English literature degree and then took a masters in the literatures of modernity, post-modernity and postcolonialism. Since then, she has worked as an assistant editor for a trade publisher and as a freelance writer. Her debut adult fantasy novel The Second Bell was published by Angry Robot in March 2020. The Wind Child is Gabriela’s first book for children.

She said: “I love UCLan Publishing's mission of combining the making of beautiful children's books with educating the next generation of publishers, and I'm very proud that The Wind Child is going to be a part of their excellent list. Their energy and enthusiasm are more than I could have hoped for.”

Holmes added: “I love this enticing story - full of powerful gods, enchantments and monsters. The focus on friendship and grief really struck a chord, and I can't wait for readers to be immersed into Gabriela's Slavic creation.”