Amanda Punter, Publisher, and Shannon Park, Executive Editor at Puffin Books have acquired world rights, including digital, in four new Willard Price adventures for ages 8 to 12, to be written by the award-winning author Anthony McGowan. The first book will be published by Puffin in summer 2012 to mark the 125th anniversary of Willard Price's birthday on 28 July.Canadian-born Willard Price was a well-respected natural historian who travelled around the world on expeditions for both the National Geographic Society and the American Museum of Natural History. His own extraordinary life of adventure (there are suggestions that he may even have been a spy) inspired the fourteen books that make up the much-loved children's Adventure series, which has enthralled generations of young readers.
On acquiring the new adventures, Francesca Dow, MD of Penguin Children's Books said, 'We believe the combination of Willard Price's action-packed animal adventures and Anthony McGowan's brilliant contemporary style will have huge appeal to readers aged eight plus. We are very excited to be publishing Anthony for the first time and to be working with FourteenFiftyFour on such a wonderful heritage property as Willard Price.'
Zo &Watkins of FourteenFiftyFour comments, 'Shortly before he died in 1983, Willard Price said, "My aim in writing the Adventure series for young people was to lead them to read by making reading exciting and full of adventure. At the same time I want to inspire an interest in wild animals and their behavior." We're delighted to be working with Anthony McGowan on this exciting new series which continues this aim by bringing the wildlife adventures of the Hunt family right into the present day.'
Anthony McGowan is a multi-award winning and critically acclaimed writer of fiction for adults and children. He was born in Manchester, went to school in Leeds and now lives in London. He has an M.Phil in philosophy and a PhD on the history of the concept of beauty. He has worked as a nightclub bouncer, civil servant, Open University tutor in philosophy, and lecturer in creative writing. He is married to the fashion designer and novelist Rebecca Campbell, and they have two young children. He is the author of two adult thrillers, Stag Hunt and Mortal Coil, and four young-adult novels: Hellbent, Henry Tumour, The Knife That Killed Me and The Fall. His books for younger children include The Bare Bum Gang series, Einstein's Underpants and The Donut Diaries of Dermot Milligan. He has also written feature articles and travel journalism for The Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard and Mail on Sunday.
Anthony McGowan said, 'I am absolutely delighted to be reimagining Willard Price's adventures for a whole new generation of readers. As a child I travelled the world in the company of Hal and Roger Hunt. Together we plunged deep into the Amazon jungle, climbed bubbling volcanoes, dived to the bottom of coral-rich, shark-infested seas. We battled against cannibals and poachers; outwitted man-eating lions; wrestled crocodiles. Hal and Roger were my companions, my friends, my teachers. I never dreamt that one day I would be setting out with the next generation of Hunts on new expeditions, not this time to collect animals for zoos, but to conserve them in the wild, and not as reader but as writer.'