London and New York: Ken Follett Moves to Hachette

In News by Porter Anderson

The author of 37 published books, Ken Follett will move to Hachette for his next release, after publishing with PRH and Pan Macmillan.

Ken Follett, surrounded by his books at his home in Hertfordshire. Image: Jake Curtis, provided by Hachette Book Group

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See also: Hachette in the UK and USA: International Management

Shelley: ‘Ambitious and Coordinated Plans’
Hachette in London and New York City offices today (May 13) are announcing that author Ken Follett is moving to Hachette, leaving Pan Macmillan and Penguin Random House on a world English contract signed with Hachette Book Group (the United States division) and Hachette UK.

A spokesperson for Hachette tells Publishing Perspectives that international rights for Follett’s first book on the new contract have, to date, been sold into Danish, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. At this point, the book’s title hasn’t been announced.

That first book on the new contract is anticipated for an international release in 2025. And at a time when major authors’ moves are perhaps less avidly watched than in the past, it’s clear from Hachette’s and Follett’s comments that this development is one of signal importance early in the transatlantic CEO tenure of David Shelley, a moment being rolled out, as one executive says, “with real fanfare.”

David Shelley

As a longtime fan,” Shelley says on reference to today’s news, “I’m excited on  both a personal and professional level that Ken Follett has decided to publish with Hachette in the US  and UK.

“He’s one of the great storytellers and his new book will thrill his many millions of fans.

“We have ambitious and coordinated plans to launch and make it one of the publishing events of 2025.”

Follett: ‘Dynamism and Creativity’

Related article: ‘Hachette in the UK and USA: International Management.’ Image: Hachette Book Group

Follett, who has published with Penguin Random House for 45 years and with Pan Macmillan for 35 years, sounds equally enthusiastic, saying, “This is the beginning of an exciting new phase for me: new publisher, new editors,  new sales force.

“I’m already published in paperback in French by Le Livre de Poche,” Hachette Livre‘s pocket-book publisher, “a Hachette  company that has impressed me with its dynamism and creativity. I’m looking forward eagerly to working with Hachette teams in New York and London.”

Ben Sevier

The deal with Follett was made by Ben Sevier, president and publisher of Grand Central Publishing Group, and Jon Butler, who is managing director of Hachette UK/Quercus. Working with the Follett team, Sevier and Butler respectively acquired United States and Canadian rights, and United Kingdom and Commonwealth rights.

Sevier is quoted, saying, “Ken Follett has long been one of my favorite novelists and his next book has all the scope and ambition to make it one of the most enduring works of fiction of our time.

“I couldn’t be happier to welcome him to Grand Central  Publishing and Hachette.”

Jon Butler

And Butler says, “Having loved Ken Follett’s work for years as a reader,  from Eye of the Needle to Pillars of the Earth and the awesomely ambitious ‘Century’ trilogy, I’m  thrilled that Quercus and Grand Central are joining forces to publish his new book with real fanfare across the English-speaking world.

“No spoilers in this initial announcement, but if I could have  dreamed up the perfect setting, story, and title for a new Ken Follett, this would be it.”

Follett, especially well-known to Publishing Perspectives‘ trade visitors for his many appearances at Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 16 to 20), is reported today by Hachette’s offices to have more than 192 million copies of his 37 published books sold in more than 80 countries and into 40 languages.

He’s a Welsh native, born in Cardiff, and started his career in journalism, the South Wales Echo being his first newspaper, followed by the London Evening News. He worked for Everest Books, a small London publisher, becoming its deputy managing director before his Eye of the Needle (1978) was published.

Follett’s 1989 Pillars of the Earth may be best known for its television series adaptation produced by Scott Free Productions, Ridley Scott’s company, along with Tandem Communications, Muse Entertainment Enterprises, The Movie Network, the Canadian Broadcasting corporation, and Pro7Sat1 Produktion for a 2010 release.

Ken Follett speaks with a video crew before the 2019 Frankfurter Buchmesse literary gala at Messe Frankfurt’s Harmonie Hall. At the time, Follett was announcing a ‘friendship tour’ of Europe with several fellow authors because, he said, ‘Many British people share our dismay at our country’s rejection of our European neighbors.’ Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

More from us on Hachette Book Group is here, more on Hachette UK is here, more on the United States market is here, and more on the United Kingdom’s market is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.