Walker has signed a middle-grade story, set in a children’s TB hospital in Shropshire during the Second World War, by author Megan Shepherd and illustrator Levi Pinfold.
The main character in The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is Emmaline, a girl at the hospital who sees winged horses in the hospital mirrors. When she discovers one of the horses wounded in the garden she knows she must do everything she can to help the horse and save herself along the way.
Walker acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights to the text from Caroline Walsh at David Higham Associates as part of a two-book deal. It will publish The Secret Horses of Briar Hill as a gift hardback edition, fully illustrated by Pinfold, in October 2016.
Publisher Denise Johnstone-Burt said: “The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is an unusual, imaginative and exquisitely writtennovel and children will love the mixture of evocative detail and action, not to mention the flying horses. Megan has created a wonderful atmosphere – both of time and place. I love the immediacy of the first person narrative and Emmaline’s feisty attitude.”
Shepherd is based in North Carolina, and her work includes the YA trilogies The Madman’s Daughter (Harper Voyager) and The Cage (HarperTeen).
Pinfold, born in the UK but based in Australia, has written and illustrated titles such as The Django and Black Dog (Templar).