By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘We’ve Closed 20 Deals, More in the Works’Since the release of the news on June 17 that Suzanne Collins has a new Hunger Games novel coming, agent Rosemary Stimola of the Stimola Literary Studio has been one of the hardest working women in the books business.
From her office across the Hudson from Manhattan, she’s overseeing rights sales amid the predictably euphoric reaction to the news that Scholastic will next spring publish the first new potential blockbuster in the franchise since Mockingjay was published almost 10 years ago.
And more than 10 months before the new book is to appear, Stimola tells Publishing Perspectives, “Well, needless to say, the announcement of the forthcoming novel by Suzanne Collins brings great excitement, attention, and flurry. And managing all the puzzle pieces and the confidentiality demanded by such a property is no small task.”
Currently going by its placeholder name of the Untitled Panem Novel, the new book is to be released by Scholastic on May 19, shortly before BookExpo in 2020.
The novel will revisit the world of Panem, but 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games, on the morning of the reaping of the 10th Hunger Games.
The Untitled Panem Novel will be published simultaneously in print, digital, and audio formats by Scholastic in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. The deal was negotiated by Stimola for Collins and David Levithan, vice-president, publisher, and editorial director Scholastic.
“The original Hunger Games trilogy,” Stimola confirms to us, “has sold into 54 languages in 52 territories.”
In talking about the new prequel in the works, Collins has been quoted saying, “With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival. The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days—as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet—provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”
As some will notice, the sort of story arc that Collins is describing may arrive with special weight next May ahead of the 2020 American election cycle. It should be interesting to see what sort of resonance is found in the author’s concepts of reconstruction and “views of humanity.”
‘Managing All the Puzzle Pieces’
At the moment, the faithful of the trilogy’s success are getting an early chance at the new work.
“Sub-agents,” Stimola says, “are giving our option publishers the courtesy of a brief period of exclusivity in which to offer. And in these first weeks,” she says, “we’ve closed deals with 20 of our publishers, with more in the works.”
And what’s top-of-mind in an operation of this magnitude?
“The main goal is to protect the work,” Stimola says, “to maintain a timeline, and ensure that all publishers have a final manuscript in sufficient time for them to translate, promote, and get their books to the shelves in each of their territories in a timely manner.” No mean feat.
And with the four films having pulled in almost $3 billion since Gary Ross’ first one for Lionsgate went to cinemas in 2012, we were curious about rights sales for the new book’s development for screens.
After all, in the years since the two Mockingjay films from Francis Lawrence for Color Force (Part 1 and Part 2) were released in 2014 and 2015, completing the cycle, the streamers have made enormous strides in market presence and the channels available to a powerful property like a new Collins work are expanding.
Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, in response to our inquiry notes that they “have been communicating with Suzanne during the writing process and look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie.”
And here, with our thanks to Stimola, is the list of sales made to date.
|Czech Republic||Czech||Albatros Media|
|Finland||Finnish||Werner Soderstrom Oy|
|Brazil||Portuguese||Editoria Rocco Ltda|
|Hungary||Hungarian||Agave Konyvek Kft|
|Indonesia||Indonesian||PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama|
|Israel||Hebrew||Kinneret Zmora Dvir Publishing House Ltd|
|Norway||Norwegian||Gyldendal Norsk Forlag|
|Poland||Polish||Media Rodzina Sp. z o.o.|
|Slovakia||Slovak||Albatros Media Slovakia s.r.o.|
|Spain||Spanish||RBA Libros S.A.|
|Spain||Catalan||Grup Editorial 62 S.L.U|
|Sweden||Swedish||Bonnier Carlsen Bokförlag|
|The Netherlands||Dutch||Uitgeverij Unieboek | Het Spectrum bv|
For her part, Rosemary Stimola’s busy summer, she says, is taking her back to the first time around.
“In many ways,” she tells Publishing Perspectives, “we’re reuniting the worldwide team behind the original trilogy as we return to an earlier Panem and gain insights into the years and events that led to the games we’ve come to know–and the rebellion ultimately sparked by Katniss Everdeen 64 years later.”