Saturday, September 28, 2013

Walker to launch media imprint

Walker Books is to launch an imprint for its media-related publishing, called Walker Entertainment in the UK and Candlewick Entertainment in the US. The imprint, launching next spring, will include TV and film tie-in titles and celebrity publishing.

The imprint will report to Helen McAleer, head of Walker's global rights and development division, in London. Group editorial director Joan Powers, based at Candlewick, will take editorial responsibility. The Walker Entertainment and Candlewick Entertainment lists will be separate, but with some publishing crossover, with Australia carrying titles from both lists.

McAleer said the new imprint would open up new commercial channels and strengthen Walker's opportunities for brand management in-house. She told The Bookseller: "It's a Walker imprint so will always have the mark of Walker—the quality, a uniqueness . . . we are not going to suddenly move away from the ethos of the company. Our view here at Walker is that great content comes from anywhere. We are open-minded about new ideas—for us not to have a close eye on what is coming from digital and TV doesn't make sense. If we are accessing children, and they are in all these spaces, we need to be there."
She added: "We have real ambitions, and now we are able to say to the industry and the trade, 'we are looking for new projects and partners to work with, in the UK and internationally.'"

The first new addition to the imprint is a fiction series based on the Aardman animated character Shaun the Sheep, who features on CBBC. The Mossy Bottom Farm series will feature new stories and characters from Shaun's world in a range of young fiction titles aimed at children aged seven-plus.
McAleer promised it would contain all of Aardman's "wit, sharpness and irony". Further "very positive" announcements about sign-ups should be expected "fairly quickly", she added.Walker's existing media-related brands, such as Abney and Teal, will migrate to Walker Entertainment, as will Walker Production projects including the Tilly and Friends tie-in books based on the CBeebies series.

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