Wimpy Kid’s best friend takes centre stage in new Kinney novel

Wimpy Kid’s best friend takes centre stage in new Kinney novel

Puffin, part of Penguin Random House (PRH) Children’s, will this April publish Jeff Kinney’s first novel outside of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, about protagonist Greg Heffley’s best friend Rowley Jefferson.

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid will be told from the point of view of Jefferson, who takes it upon himself to write his friend’s story. He is not very good at the job, however, and the book ends up being more about him than Heffley.

The story started life as a World Book Day 2019 title, due for publication on 7th March, and Kinney enjoyed writing it so much he decided to turn it into a full-length book.

M.d. of PRH Children’s Francesca Dow said the news was “one of the biggest announcements in children’s publishing.”

“Very few series have had the phenomenal global success of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and we are thrilled to continue the journey by bringing a sensational new book to millions of UK fans,” she said. “This is the first time readers will discover the Wimpy Kid world from best friend Rowley Jefferson’s point of view, with with Jeff’s trademark humour and hilarious illustrations we know this will captivate fans and new readers alike.”

Publishing director Amanda Punter acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, Australia and New Zealand, from Yulia Borodyanskaya, Abrams’ Rights Director, and will publish Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid on 9th April in hardback, e-book, and audiobook. Publication will be supported by an “extensive” global publicity and marketing campaign.

The fourteenth book in the Wimpy Kid series, as yet untitled, will follow in the autumn.

Kinney is one of the most successful children's book authors writing today and the 13th Wimpy Kid title, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown, has sold just over 365,000 units for £2.2m in the UK, according to Nielsen BookScan. More than 200 million copies of the books in the series have been sold globally, said PRH.