William Heinemann is publishing the first graphic novel adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird, drawn and adapted by Fred Fordham, the artist behind Philip Pullman's debut graphic novel.
Publisher Jason Arthur acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) in the graphic novel adaptation from Jenny Savill at Andrew Nurnberg Associates to publish globally on 1st November 2018. US and Canadian rights were acquired by Jonathan Burnham at HarperCollins.
Arthur said Fordham's artwork was "utterly true" to the original Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, first published in 1960. Harper Lee's story of racial intolerance in the Deep South has gone on to be translated into more than 40 languages and, according to the publisher, still sells well over one million copies worldwide every year, with sales totalling more than 40 million copies globally.
‘Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’
"To Kill a Mockingbird regularly tops polls as the nation’s most loved book and we are delighted that readers will be able to revisit it – or discover it for the first time – in graphic novel form," said Arthur. "The art I’ve seen so far from Fred is stunning and his adaptation storyboard is utterly true to the original novel."
The Estate of Harper Lee said it was "very happy" to be working with Fred Fordham on the project. "Fred’s work has a quality that surpasses time, just like the novel he will bring to life in a new way. We can’t wait to hear the reaction from old and new fans." a spokesperson said.
Fordham, who has drawn and adapted the novel, is from North London and recently illustrated Pullman's debut graphic-novel, The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship (Graphic), published last month. Prior to this he has worked as a traditional portrait painter and muralist. He said: "Adapting a story that means so much to so many – and finding the appropriate art style to give it life in a long-form visual medium – is a great honour and responsibility, and, mercifully, also a great pleasure."
Lee died in February 2016, aged 89. Her passing followed the release of her “surprise second novel”, Go Set a Watchman (William Heinemann) in 2015, which featured some of the same characters as in To Kill a Mockingbird.