'Stellar' buys for Walker include Morpurgo and Almond

'Stellar' buys for Walker include Morpurgo and Almond

Walker Books has revealed a “stellar” line-up of acquisitions including the latest collaboration from David Almond and Dave McKean, a new standalone version of a previously published story from Michael Morpurgo, and Eoin Colfer's first book for the indie publisher.

The children's publisher has negotiated world rights for all five titles, with publishing planned between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

Two titles from a previously published anthology of short stories, The Great War (Walker), will become standalone titles for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. Our Jacko by Michael Morpurgo will be the 20th Walker publication from the author and the first for illustrator David Gentleman; it is described as a “deeply personal and tender story of war and those who are left behind”. Captain Rosalie by French author Timothée de Fombelle, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, is the other title. De Fombelle “has spearheaded Walker Books’ translated fiction list for nearly 10 years”, the publisher said.

Quinn’s Poltergeist by David Almond and Dave McKean is the pair’s fourth collaboration for Walker. Originally a short story in Almond’s collection Half a Creature from the Sea (Walker), acquired by publishing director Jane Winterbotham from Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates, it will now be illustrated by graphic artist and film-maker McKean. A Walker spokesperson described it as “beautifully imagined, gritty and contemporary with otherworldly overtones”.

The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by PJ Lynch, is a “warm, uplifting story” for young readers about a boy and his dog and the “power of music to heal”. Lynch is a long-term Walker illustrator, while it is Colfer’s first title with the publisher. The book was acquired from Sophie Hicks at the Sophie Hicks Agency by commissioning editor Emma Lidbury and picture books publisher Deirdre McDermott.

Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black is a “literary tour de force” by award-winning authors Marcus Sedgwick and Julian Sedgwick and artist Alexis Deacon about an “intense connection between brothers in conflict”, set during the Second World War. The book was acquired by senior commissioning editor Lizzie Sitton from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates.

Winterbotham said: “The stunning array of talent and quality in this list represents what Walker Books is all about: creativity, originality and excellence. We have partnered some of the best names in writing and illustration to create truly beautiful and covetable books; books that will stand the test of time.”