The Jim Henson Company Partners With Penguin Young Readers Group To Launch "The Dark Crystal" Author Quest ~Winner To Receive $10,000 To Write The First Book Of A New Young Adult Novel Series Based On Jim Henson's Classic Fantasy Film

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Jim Henson Company and Grosset & Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, are reaching out to fans and fantasy writers to enter The Dark Crystal Author Quest, an online contest that will award one winner with a $10,000 contract to write the first book in a new young adult series based on the world of the classic fantasy film.

Beginning today, entrants can visit www.darkcrystal.com/authorquest to read contest rules and guidelines and review all the background materials, descriptions, and history needed to create a submission. Entries will be accepted beginning October 1, 2013, and must be received no later than January 1, 2014. The site is a preview of the upcoming official Dark Crystal website, www.darkcrystal.com, that will be the online destination for all things Dark Crystal.

"This is such an exciting time for The Dark Crystal! We know there are talented fantasy writers out there who would love to add to the incredible universe of The Dark Crystal and we welcome them to submit their best work for a chance to become part of our team," said Cheryl Henson, daughter of Jim Henson and founder of www.darkcrystal.com.  "With our new website at www.darkcrystal.com, our loyal fans of all ages can connect with each other online to explore and deeply engage with the rich and endless world of The Dark Crystal."

"We are excited to partner with The Jim Henson Company on this author quest. It's a unique opportunity to connect with the multitude of talented fantasy writers and Dark Crystal fans," said Francesco Sedita, President and Publisher of Grosset & Dunlap. "I'm looking forward to reading all the submissions. The Dark Crystal was such a big part of my childhood and I'm thrilled to able to contribute to the evolution of this important and enduring world."

The world of The Dark Crystal began with the classic fantasy film, widely regarded as groundbreaking for its technological achievements in animatronics and puppetry.  Released in 1982, the film, directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz and based on the designs of artist Brian Froud, is set in the world of Thra where the last two survivors of the Gelfling tribe embark on a dangerous journey with evil and mysterious creatures at every turn.  The new novel series will be a prequel storyline, taking place before the time of the classic fantasy film, during the Gelfling Gathering in the early Age of Division.

ABOUT THE DARK CRYSTAL
Travel back in time to the fantasy world of Thra. Jen and Kira, surviving members of the Gelfling tribe, set out to find the crystal's missing shard and begin a dangerous journey that will bring them face to face with evil Skeksis and mysterious creatures. Jim Henson's Creature Shop worked to build both animatronics and soft puppets for this film, marking it as the first ever all-puppet full length feature. Directors Jim Henson and Frank Oz created a masterpiece of fantasy based on the designs of artist Brian Froud that has earned its place in cinematic history as one of the must-see classics of its genre.

Since its premiere in 1982, Jim Henson's visionary fantasy classic has been celebrated at screenings, on DVD and online, and in collections of comics, manga, figurines, sculptures, and plush. The new www.darkcrystal.com website will aggregate all the narratives of The Dark Crystal universe and include artwork and behind the scenes archives.

ABOUT PENGUIN YOUNG READERS GROUP
Penguin Young Readers Group is one of the leading children's book publishers in the United States. The company owns a wide range of imprints and trademarks including Dial Books, Dutton, Grosset & Dunlap, Philomel, Puffin, Speak, Firebird, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Viking, Razorbill, and Frederick Warne. These imprints are home to such award-winning, New York Times- bestselling authors as, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jay Asher, Judy Blume, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Tomie dePaola, Sarah Dessen, Anna Dewdney, John Green, Anthony Horowitz, John Flanagan, Mike Lupica, Richelle Mead, Richard Peck, Patricia Polacco, and dozens of other popular authors. Penguin Young Readers Group is also the proud publisher of perennial brand franchises such as The Little Engine That Could, the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, Peter Rabbit, Spot, the Classic Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Strega Nona, Madeline, Mad Libs, Alex Rider, the Rangers Apprentice, Skippyjon Jones, Flower Fairies, and Pippi Longstocking, among many others. Penguin Young Readers Group is a division of Penguin Group (USA), the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group, one of the largest English-language trade book publishers in the world. The Penguin Group is owned by Pearson plc, the international media group.

ABOUT THE JIM HENSON COMPANY
The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy® nominated "Sid the Science Kid," "Dinosaur Train" as well as "Wilson & Ditch: Digging America" and "Pajanimals." Features include "The Dark Crystal," "Labyrinth," "MirrorMask," and "Unstable Fables" and television productions include "Fraggle Rock" and the sci-fi cult series "Farscape."

With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities. Independently owned and operated by the five adult children of founder Jim Henson, the Company is also home to Jim Henson's Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry's top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment.

The Company's Henson Alternative brand has recently launched the national tour of "Stuffed and Unstrung," a live puppet improvisational show named one of the top 10 "Best Stage Shows of 2010" by Entertainment Weekly.

SOURCE The Jim Henson Company




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