Saturday, November 11, 2017
HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO PUBLISH MICHAEL BOND’S FINAL PADDINGTON PICTURE BOOK
New Paddington picture book, Paddington at St Paul’s, to publish in June 2018, coinciding with 60th Anniversary of the first Paddington Bear book
HarperCollins Children’s Books is honoured to announce that it will be publishing Paddington at St Paul’s, a brand-new Paddington Bear picture book by the late Michael Bond, CBE. This is the last Paddington Bear book that Michael Bond wrote before his death in June 2017 and will include beautiful interior illustrations by R.W. Alley, who has illustrated Paddington Bear since 1997.
Michael Bond was inspired to write the book following his involvement in the National Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s 90th Birthday, which was held at St Paul’s Cathedral. His Reflection on the Passing of the Years was read by Sir David Attenborough – both were born in the same year as HM The Queen.
In Paddington at St Paul’s, chaos ensues when Michael Bond’s much-loved, world famous bear is mistaken for a choirboy during a visit to Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic building. Publication of this hilarious adventure coincides with the 60th anniversary of A Bear Called Paddington and builds on the heritage of Michael Bond’s wonderful tales of a character cherished by generations of readers.
Ann-Janine Murtagh, Executive Publisher at HarperCollins Children’s Books commented “We are deeply honoured to be publishing the final Paddington story from our most cherished author Michael Bond. Paddington at St Paul’s is Michael’s parting gift to all his fans – a simply classic Paddington story, brimming with curiosity, charm and affectionate exuberance. It is delightfully illustrated by Bob Alley who worked closely with Michael for many years and in a beautiful serendipity is set in St Paul’s Cathedral where we will be celebrating Michael’s life and works next week. We will publish this book to launch the 60th Anniversary of Paddington’s creation in June next year fulfilling our promise to ensure that Michael’s beloved bear will continue to delight children in the future as he has enchanted generations of children in the past.”
Karen Jankel, Michael Bond’s daughter said: “If the outpouring of wonderful messages of condolence we received from my father’s fans is anything to go by, there will be many people who will be delighted to learn there is another Paddington book to look forward to. Our family feel immensely proud that we will be honouring his life at St Paul’s Cathedral and the fact that this is the setting for his final story makes it very special indeed.”
Paddington at St Paul’s publishes in June 2018, with simultaneous e-book and audiobook publication.
Michael Bond was born in Newbury, Berkshire, in January 1926. He served in both the Royal Air Force and the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army during the Second World War. He first began writing in 1945 when he was in the Army, selling his first short story to a magazine called London Opinion for seven guineas.
On Christmas Eve, 1956, while working as a BBC cameraman, Michael bought a small toy bear which had been left alone on a shelf in a London department store. Feeling sorry for it, he took it home and gave it to his wife. They lived near Paddington Station and Michael had often thought that Paddington would make a good name for a character.
One day he saw the bear sitting on the mantelpiece and it sparked an idea: "When I wrote those few words, I had no idea quite what a change they would eventually make to my life. It was really a case of putting something down on paper to get my brain working that morning." Michael soon found that he had a book on his hands, and in 1958 A Bear Called Paddington was published with many, many more stories to follow.
60 years later, the Paddington books have sold over thirty-five million copies worldwide and been translated into over forty different languages. Paddington continues to touch the heart of readers worldwide with his earnest good intentions and humorous misadventures. He is also the star of two blockbuster films – the eagerly anticipated Paddington 2 releases on 10th November, following the global success of the first film, which was the highest grossing (non-US studio) independent family film of all time.
Michael Bond was awarded the OBE in July 1997 and then a CBE in June 2015. Michael died in June 2017, leaving behind one of the great literary legacies of our time.
Michael Bond’s Memorial Service will take place at St Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday 14th November, and will be a celebration of Michael Bond’s life, attended by family, friends, colleagues from across his career, and those associated with the world of books and reading.
Leading the tributes to Michael will be his daughter Karen Jankel and family, Executive Publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh, and Hugh Bonneville, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin from the cast of Paddington 2.