NEW YORK, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- HarperCollins Publishers announced today that it has acquired North American rights to Wildwood, a middle-grade series by Colin Meloy, illustrated by acclaimed artist Carson Ellis. Wildwood is a classic tale of adventure, magic, and danger, set in an alternate version of modern-day Portland, Oregon. Meloy is the lead singer and songwriter of The Decemberists, the highly celebrated and uncommonly literary band.
The three-book deal was negotiated by Donna Bray, Co-Publisher of the Balzer & Bray imprint at HarperCollins, with Steven Malk of Writers House, after an auction involving five other publishers. The first book is scheduled for publication in Fall 2011.
"Storytelling and rich imagery are hallmarks of Colin's songs, so writing a novel seems like a perfect next step for him," said Donna Bray of Balzer & Bray. "Wildwood is both incredibly original yet timeless – nothing less than an American Narnia. We're thrilled to introduce such an exciting new voice in children's literature."
Steven Malk of Writers House added, "Colin and Carson tap into the greatest potential of an illustrated novel; the words and images invigorate each other in a way readers rarely get to experience."
"The germ of this series goes back a long way," Meloy said. "For me, this is the culmination of a long-term collaboration with Carson, matching words and art. I grew up on a steady diet of Lloyd Alexander, Roald Dahl, and Tolkien; this is our humble paean to that grand tradition of epic adventure stories." Ellis commented, "Wildwood is a project very close to my heart - the collaboration that Colin and I have been dreaming about for years."
Colin Meloy formed The Decemberists in 2000, with his singing and songwriting providing the core for the band's singular music. Their most recent album, The Hazards of Love, debuted at #1 on the iTunes Store album chart and at #14 on the Billboard 200. The band has sold more than one million albums worldwide. Carson Ellis first rose to prominence as the artist who created the band's iconic visual look, and has gone on to illustrate bestselling books such as The Mysterious Benedict Society and Lemony Snicket's The Composer is Dead.
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HarperCollins Children's Books is one of the leading publishers of children's books. Respected worldwide for its tradition of publishing quality, award-winning books for young readers, HarperCollins is home to many timeless treasures—Charlotte's Web, The Chronicles of Narnia, Goodnight Moon, Where the Sidewalk Ends, the Ramona series, Where the Wild Things Are; and popular new classics—The Graveyard Book, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Warriors, and Fancy Nancy. HarperCollins Children's Books has published some of the world's foremost authors and illustrators and has won numerous awards including the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award and the Geisel Award. HarperCollins Children's Books is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, one of the leading English-language publishers in the world and a subsidiary of News Corporation (NYSE: NWS, NWS.A; ASX: NCP, NCPDP). Consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement, HarperCollins is the first publisher to digitize its content and create a global digital warehouse to protect the rights of its authors, meet consumer demand and generate additional business opportunities. Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing groups in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia/New Zealand, and India. You can visit HarperCollins Children's Books at www.harpercollinschildrens.com and HarperCollins Publishers at www.harpercollins.com.
SOURCE HarperCollins Publishers