According to a report in The Guardian, a 28-year-old author from Caterbury has bagged what is being considered as the world’s largest-ever book advance for a debut children’s writer. The author Annabel Steadman, who writes as AF Steadman, has been paid a seven-figure sum by Simon & Schuster for a fantasy series about “bloodthirsty unicorns”.
The first book in the series will be out in 2022 and a feature film deal too has been sealed. “It kind of completely went mad after that. I was like, this isn’t real, this can’t be real,” the author was quoted as saying in the report. She had started the work in 2013 but didn’t pursue it further to focus on her career as a lawyer. “I just wrote some names of unicorns, and then I left it alone. I was training to be a lawyer at the time, living in Oxford and commuting to London, so I had an hour every day to think about things,” she said.
In 2018, she wrote the story in a span of three months and later worked at it again with Sam Copeland, her literary agent.
“I knew the moment I first started reading this, I had found someone extraordinary in Annabel. This has been matched by the excitement from publishers and the world record-breaking offers for a children’s debut – with a number of publishers offering well into seven figures. This has been the most exciting auction of my career and to top it off with wildly exciting film news as well has left everybody breathless,” Copeland said as quoted in the report.
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