Walker Books has confirmed a two-book deal with comedian, film director, screenwriter, television presenter, actor, and author Richard Ayoade.
The first will be illustrated fiction, The Book That No One Wanted to Read, aimed at eight to 10-year-olds, for publication in 2022, to be followed by picture book The Fairy Tale Fan Club.
Publishing director Jane Winterbotham acquired world rights from the Jo Unwin Literary Agency. Walker US will publish both titles in the US. Illustrators are still to be confirmed.
Commenting on the deal, Winterbotham said: "Richard’s first books for children are every bit as original and hilarious as everything else he touches. He subverts the whole notion of storytelling in ways that will have children – and adults – howling with delight. I’m delighted that Richard has at last brought his amazing talents to children’s books, and to the Walker list.”
Unwin said: "There are 'celebrity' children's authors, and then there are authors whose wit, intelligence and sense of fun ooze from every pore of their being. Richard is very, very much in the oozy camp and children are going to love his books"
Ayoade has built his reputation across an array of roles in film and TV, from his BAFTA winning performance as Moss in sitcom "The IT Crowd", creating and starring in Garth Marenghi’s "Darkplace" alongside Matthew Holness, regular appearances on comedy panel shows including "8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown" and "The Big Fat Quiz of the Year", as well as work directing both "Submarine", and "The Double", in addition to voice acting work, including Disney Star Wars spinoff "The Mandalorian". He has also written three books on film for Faber: Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey (2014), The Grip of Film (2017), and Ayoade on Top (2019).
He said: “I have been asked to provide a quote, for which I will be forever grateful, because it gives me the contracted opportunity to say, without exaggeration, that this may be the greatest publishing event in the history of fiction.”