The Bookseller – Rights – HarperCollins Historic heist series of Noakes, first author of children’s bags, in four-way auction

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HarperCollins Children’s signed Cosima Unfortunate, a historical heist series from first author Laura Noakes.

Following a multi-round auction that ended in a four-publisher battle, publishing director Michelle Misra has acquired full worldwide language rights to two books by Lydia Silver at the Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency. HarperCollins will also publish the series in Germany as part of its global publishing program.

The first book, Cosima Unfortunate steals a starwill be released in paperback in June 2023, with a sequel planned for June 2024. Both titles will be accompanied by a “must-have” marketing and PR campaign.

The publisher’s synopsis reads: “Kensington, 1899. Cosima Unfortunate has spent her entire life at the Home for Unfortunate Girls – a school where all children who are disabled or deemed different are sent, whether their families like it or not. This is where she meets her friends – Pearl, Mary and Diya – and they start practicing mini heists involving stealing cakes, cookies and other treats.

“But when Cos discovers that Lord Francis Fitzroy, the explorer behind the Empire Exhibition, plans to adopt them, she and her friends plot the biggest heist of their lives. Instead of melting fantasies, they will steal the legendary Diamond Star. of India. As they begin to prepare for the day, Cosima gets closer and closer to uncovering the one secret she’s always wanted to know – the truth about her parents…”

Misra said: “I am so excited that Laura has chosen HarperCollins Children’s Books as her home for her middle level debut. To have such a cheerful portrayal of disability, in such a genuine voice, land on my desk was the highlight of my week. No, delete that – my year! At its heart is a heist (and who doesn’t love a heist) but this book is so much more – bad guys are foiled, plans come to fruition, and lasting friendships are formed among the gang of the brightest girls – underworld. estimate them at your peril.”

Noakes added, “I’m thrilled to be working with the incredible team at HarperCollins to bring Cosima’s boldness to readers next year. I was immediately overwhelmed by their enthusiasm for my story and their fabulous ideas for making the star of Cos shine even brighter. I am indebted to my amazing agent, Lydia Silver, and the entire team at Darley Anderson for all of their hard work putting together my first submission.

Laura Noakes is a disabled writer and historian from Bedfordshire. She has written articles for Disability at Kidlit and Kettle Mag and his poetry has been published in Writing magazine. She works in a museum.


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