Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Walker Books acquires world rights to Croggon’s first middle-grade fantasy title

Alison Croggon, author of the ‘Pellinor’ series for young adults, will publish her first middle-grade fantasy adventure title, The Threads of Magic, with Walker Books after the publisher acquired world rights in all languages from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates, acting on behalf of Jenny Darling & Associates. The book follows a young pickpocket, Pip, who lives on his wits in the city of Clarel and finds himself in possession of a curious object: a dried-out heart that is trying to communicate with him. ‘The seed of the tale was the mystery around the Lost Dauphin, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette,’ Croggon told Think Australian. ‘His heart was reportedly stolen and pickled by a doctor who did an autopsy. The Threads of Magic spiraled out of that central horrible image of a dead boy’s heart, but it very quickly took on a life of its own!’ Walker will publish the book in the UK in October 2019, and expects to release the book in Australia in December 2019.

Scholastic Australia has acquired middle-grade fiction trilogy ‘Girltopia’, written by former Hardie Grant Egmont publishing director Hilary Rogers, who previously commissioned the ‘Billie B Brown’, ‘Zac Power’ and ‘Go Girl’ series. Book one in the trilogy, Girltopia, marks Rogers’ debut as an author and is the first in an ongoing collaboration between Scholastic and book-creation venture Interrobang, which Rogers co-founded with writer Josh Lefers. The trilogy is set in a world run by girls after all the men and boys are struck down by a mysterious sleeping sickness, and the first book will be published in July 2018. The series is aimed at middle-grade readers who enjoy the ideas in high-concept YA novels.

Penguin Random House Australia’s Young Readers division has acquired 13-year-old slam poet Solli Raphael’s first book, a collection of slam poetry paired with inspirational writing techniques. Scheduled for publication on 3 September 2018, Limelight will include several introductory chapters on traditional poetry forms and slam poetry, as well as 30 original poems, and tips on writing and performing. It also includes the poem ‘Australian Air’, which became a viral video on Facebook, where it was viewed 3.5 million times. Raphael was the youngest winner of the Australian Poetry Slam in 2017, when he was 12 years old. His work deals with themes of sustainability and social equality.

Hardie Grant Egmont has sold US rights to debut author Jack Henseleit’s middle-grade fiction books The Witching Hours: The Vampire Knife and its sequel, The Troll Heart, to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Henseleit’s horror adventure books follow a young boy, Max, who is kidnapped by a vampire, and Max’s sister, Anna, who plunges into a world of monsters and magic to try to save him. The books have now sold into six territories, including Spain, the Netherlands and Brazil. Hardie Grant Egmont managing director Annabel Barker said the US publisher ‘snapped up this book almost immediately on submission’. ‘We have been so excited by the international response to Jack’s debut novel … We are so delighted for Jack, as a debut children’s novelist, to see this level of success so quickly,’ said Barker. Rights were acquired by Kheryn Callender, with Little, Brown to publish the first book in the US fall of 2018.

Other recent Australian rights sales and acquisitions include:

Picture books

Younger readers and middle grade

  • Allen & Unwin has sold German rights to A Song Only I Can Hear (Barry Jonsberg) to Random House; Dutch rights to Lemniscaat; and Italian rights to Piemme/Mondadori.
  • Black Inc. has sold Turkish rights to How to Win a Nobel Prize (Barry Marshall & Lorna Hendry, illus by Bernard Caleo) to Epsilon at auction; Polish rights to Wydawnictwo Kobiece at auction; and UK and Japanese rights to Oneworld Publications and Wave Publishers, respectively.
  • Scholastic has sold simplified Chinese rights to The Bad Guys Episode Five (Aaron Blabey).

Young adult

  • Hardie Grant Egmont has sold North American rights to Amelia Westlake (Erin Gough) to Deirdre Jones at Little, Brown/Poppy.

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


Category: Think Junior rights sales