Bella talks to Charlotte Eyre at The Bookseller about setting up Guppy Books and its first autumn titles. Read more…
Bella Pearson, former Publishing Director at David Fickling Books, is delighted to announce that she will be launching a new independent children’s publishing house in 2019.
Guppy Books will be based in Oxford and will publish eight to ten fiction titles a year, which will primarily be aimed at middle grade through to young adult readers. Michael O’Mara Books will be selling and distributing Guppy Books in the UK and export market, and Sarah Pakenham of Scallywag Press, ex-rights director at Andersen Press, will be selling translation rights.
Bella Pearson has worked in children’s books for over twenty-five years. After five years selling books at an independent children’s bookshop, she completed an MA in children’s literature and then moved into publishing at Transworld Children’s Books.
In 2001 she began work as an editor with David Fickling, helping set up his eponymous list under the umbrella of Random House, leaving as publishing director in 2018. She acquired and edited multiple bestselling and award-winning titles during this time, including The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson, Jessica’s Ghost by Andrew Norriss, Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay and Before I Die by Jenny Downham. She won the Branford Boase Award for Siobhan Dowd’s A Swift Pure Cry in 2007, and has been shortlisted a further five times.
‘To be choosing, editing and producing books for children on my very own list is a dream come true,’ says Pearson. ‘My aim is for Guppy Books to be a responsive, inclusive and transparent publishing house, presenting the very best in original, ground-breaking and entertaining fiction for all ages, from both debut and established authors and illustrators.’
Rumana Haider, UK & Export Sales Director at Michael O’Mara Books, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Bella on the new, exciting Guppy Books list. Bella is an extraordinary publisher who has a talent for finding and nurturing those voices which really connect with the reader. Everyone at Michael O’Mara Books is passionate about innovative children’s books, and these thought-provoking and entertaining fiction titles will perfectly complement and add a new dimension to our list. We can’t wait to share Bella’s wonderful Guppy Books list far and wide.”
Guppy Books will launch with its first two titles in the autumn of 2019: Gloves Off, a gripping YA novel about bullying, body image and boxing from author, Louisa Reid, acquired from Hilary Delamere at The Agency; and a magical middle-grade adventure from Australian writer Jaclyn Moriarty, The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone.
Early 2020 sees the publication of two debut middle-grade series, and a thrilling YA novel from critically-acclaimed author, Beverley Birch.
Guppy Books is now accepting submissions from agents, and will announce further plans regarding unsolicited submissions later in the year.
For more information about Guppy Books or to speak to Bella about the list, please contact Catherine Alport
Publication of GLOVES OFF by Louisa Reid - a powerful and gripping book in verse for young adults, confronting issues of bullying and body-image.
UK publication of THE EXTREMELY INCONVENIENT ADVENTURES OF BRONTE METTLESTONE by Jaclyn Moriarty – an absorbing and magical tale of a girl who must visit all ten of her extraordinary aunts after her parents are killed by pirates – accompanied by fire-breathing dragons, water-sprites and cloudberry tea.