The US division of children’s book publisher Egmont will close, effective January 31, 2015, after attempts to sell the division failed. Danish parent company Egmont Publishing International began looking for a buyer in October 2014, but found no takers.
Egmont has acquired two YA titles from Kevin Brooks, the winner of the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal, for a five-figure sum.
The first, an untitled YA thriller, will be published by Egmont under the Electric Monkey imprint in January 2016. A second book will follow in January 2017.
Sarah Hughes, Egmont’s fiction publishing director, bought the world rights from Eugenie Furniss at Furniss Lawton. Lucinda Prain at Casarotto will look after the film and TV rights.
Hughes said: “Kevin is an exceptionally gifted and internationally celebrated writer. Thought provoking and intelligent, he always delivers a cracking read.”
Egmont Books has acquired two novels by Brighton-based author Lisa Heathfield. The first book, Seed, will publish in spring 2015 with the sequel planned for 2016.
Seed is described as
a chilling coming-of-age story of life within a cult. Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. But when some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realize that there is darkness at heart of Seed. A darkness from which she must escape, before it’s too late.
Ali Dougal, Fiction Editorial Director at Egmont, bought World English rights at auction from Veronique Baxter at David Higham.
“Lisa Heathfield is an exciting new British voice in YA fiction,” commented Dougal. “Seed presses all the right buttons for YA readers, exploring themes of self-discovery, budding romance, trust, secrets, and decoding the world around you. Told in the naïve voice of a girl who knows nothing of the real world, it is haunting and heartbreaking in equal measure. Everyone here is desperate to read the sequel.”
EGMONT ACQUIRES LAUGH-OUT-LOUD NEW SERIES FOR JELLY PIE IMPRINT
Egmont Publishing has announced the acquisition of a ‘major, new young fiction series’ for readers aged 7-9 by author and illustrator Angie Morgan. The series will publish on Egmont’s Jelly Pie list, home of Andy Stanton’s Mr Gum and Jim Smith’s Barry Loser series, both winners of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.
Ali Dougal, Fiction Editorial Director, negotiated World rights from James Catchpole at The Catchpole Agency. The first book, with the working title Sinus and the Great Pig Rescue, will publish in spring 2015, with a second book to follow later the same year.
The series is set in the Dark Ages and stars peasant Sinus, who lives with his mum, dad and pet pig Denzel in the completely unsanitary hamlet of Little Soggy-in-the-Mud.
“I’m a huge fan of Angie Morgan’s picture books, so I was thrilled when she approached us with this raucously funny young fiction series,” commented Ali Dougal. “Her hilarious artwork and cast of resourceful peasants and dastardly villains make a delicious combination. Think Tom Gates meets Blackadder.”
Angie Morgan said, “It’s been huge amount of fun creating the world of Sinus and his smelly, mud-caked peasant friends, and a massive bonus that Ali and Egmont found them funny enough to publish. I look forward to writing and illustrating the next story about the happenings in Little Soggy in the Mud.”
Angie Morgan is the author and illustrator of several picture books. Her first picture book with Egmont, Shouty Arthur, will publish in March 2014. Previous work includes Enormouse for Chickenhouse, and Daisy’s Digging Party for Frances Lincoln.
Egmont has appointed Hilary Murray Hill as m.d. of a newly created Books division, where she will report to Egmont UK m.d. Cally Poplak.
Murray Hill will join Egmont from Scholastic, where she is currently m.d. of Children’s Books, in March.
Poplak said she was “delighted” to welcome Murray Hill to the company, saying: “Her exceptional track record in senior management and superb and wide-ranging knowledge of children’s publishing will help steer our new bigger Books division to even greater success.”
Egmont Press has acquired a new fantasy adventure series set in modern Japan for readers of 9+. Sword of Kuromori is by debut author Jason Rohan.
Stella Paskins, Fiction Publisher at Egmont Press, pre-empted World rights in a three-book, six-figure sum deal from Anne Clark at Anne Clark Literary Agency. The first title in the series will publish in May 2014 and will be a lead title on Egmont’s list.
“I am massively excited about Sword of Kuromori,” commented Stella Paskins. “Jason’s mix of page-turning action with smart dialogue and sparkling characters is brilliant. The fusion of hi-tech and ancient myth works really well and readers are going to devour this world of breathtaking battles and exotic monsters.”
Jason Rohan said, “As a long time admirer of Japanese culture, I’m honoured and thrilled to be bringing this rich and vibrant folklore to a wider audience. I’m also humbled by the faith that Stella and the Egmont team have placed in me by committing to three novels, and I can’t wait to see what ideas the design team come up with, given the wealth of source material.”
Jason Rohan has worked as a staff writer for Marvel Comics in New York and as an English teacher in Japan, where he lived for five years. He returned to the UK and now lives in West London with his wife and five children.