EXCLUSIVE: In a dazzling double deal, Simon & Schuster Children’s UK and Simon & Schuster US have made a seven-figure worldwide rights deal — a precedent for a debut fantasy novel — and Sony Pictures in turn has made a preemptive seven-figure screen rights deal for Skandar and the Unicorn Thief, the first of a much anticipated fantasy adventure novel series by A. F. Steadman.
The deals cover three books, and came after a heated multi-publisher auction in the UK for a series set to launch in Spring 2022.
Getting a jump on the town, Sony Pictures preemptively acquired the feature film rights to Skandar and the Unicorn Thief as the publishing auction unfolded. Drew Reed and Jake Bauman were instrumental in landing the deal and Peter Kang is overseeing the project for Sony Pictures.
Skandar and The Unicorn Thief is a magical middle grade fantasy adventure series that takes readers into a mystical world of unlikely heroes, elemental magic, and ancient secrets. Author Annabel Steadman, who’ll be hot stuff once word of these deals gets around, is 28 years old and in 2019 was awarded a Distinction in a Creative Writing Masters from the University of Cambridge. Before focusing on writing, she worked in both corporate and family law until she realised that there wasn’t nearly enough magic involved.
Steadman is repped by CAA and Sam Copeland at Rogers, Coleridge & White.