Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Two Shaun Tan books coming in 2018

Award-winning author and illustrator Shaun Tan has two books coming out in 2018. Hachette Australia will publish Tan’s new picture book Cicada—about ‘a bug working in an office and all the people who don’t love him’—in June. Hachette Australia co-managing director Justin Ractliffe described the book as ‘a mythic fairytale of magic, menace and wonder’. Allen & Unwin will also publish Tales from the Inner City, a companion to Tan’s 2008 book Tales from Outer Suburbia, in October. It features 25 illustrated short stories, each exploring ‘unique relationships between humans and animals living together in urban environments’.

Walker Books has acquired world rights to debut author Sarah Epstein’s YA psychological thriller Small Spaces, to be published in April 2018. Small Spaces is the story of 17-year-old Tash, who is haunted by memories of her childhood and the day her ‘gruesome’ imaginary friend Sparrow lured a young Mallory away from a local carnival.

Australian comedian and broadcaster Nelly Thomas has crowdfunded over A$20,000 for her early childhood picture book Some Girls, and will self-publish the book in November despite receiving several offers from publishers. Some Girls aims to challenge gender and other stereotypes, and features a diverse cast of girls displaying a range of emotions, likes, dislikes and interests. A companion book, Some Boys, is planned for August 2018, as Thomas notes ‘there’s no point challenging gender stereotypes and only working with girls’.

Film and TV

The Oscar-nominated US screenwriter, director and producer Drew Goddard has signed on to write and produce the film adaptation of Jessica Townsend’s children’s fantasy book Nevermoor (Hachette Australia) after Twentieth Century Fox optioned the film rights last year. Nevermoor was recently published in Australia, the UK and the US, and has been sold into over 25 territories.

Robyn Kershaw Productions (RKP) has optioned the TV rights to Ailsa Wild’s ‘Squishy Taylor’ children’s book series (illus by Ben Wood, Hardie Grant Egmont). Eight titles have been published so far in the series, which follows 11-year-old Sita ‘Squishy’ Taylor as she solves mysteries around her apartment building.

Other recent rights sales of Australian books include:

Picture books

  • Allen & Unwin has sold North American rights to The Sloth Who Came to Stay (Margaret Wild, illus by Vivienne To)—about a fast family who are taught to slow down—to Abrams.
  • Berbay Publishing has sold world Spanish rights to the picture book What’s Your Story? (Rose Giannone, illus by Bern Emmerichs)—set against the backdrop of the First Settlement of Australia—to Ekaré Europa S.L.
  • HarperCollins has sold UK rights to the ‘Ruby Red Shoes’ series (Kate Knapp) to Macmillan Children’s Books. The books follow an ‘aware hare’ who ‘cares about the environment and the world of plants and creatures’.

Younger readers

  • Hardie Grant Egmont has sold Brazilian rights to the first three books in the spooky series for middle-grade readers ‘The Witching Hours’ (Jack Henseleit).
  • Scholastic Australia has sold Persian-translation rights to the first five books in Aaron Blabey’s ‘The Bad Guys’ series, which follows the adventures of four traditionally ‘bad’ animals as they try to reform their image.
  • Text has sold Spanish rights to the Text Prize-winning middle grade novel The Extremely Weird Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls (Adam Cece)—‘about three friends and the extremely weird thing that happened in the weirdest town in the world’—to Duomo.

For the latest Australian rights sales and acquisitions news, click here.


Category: Think Junior rights sales