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News Release

For immediate release on Friday 21st September 2007

David Fickling Books to Publish New Philip Pullman Story

David Fickling Books is delighted to announce the worldwide publication of Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman, a beguiling and intriguing new episode from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials universe.

A new and completely original episode from Philip Pullman’s bestselling His Dark Materials universe will be published on 3rd April 2008 by David Fickling Books Ltd, part of The Random House Group in the UK. The book, Once Upon a Time in the North, opens another extraordinary window into the universe of His Dark Materials, and is Philip’s first new work for five years.

Once Upon a Time in the North will appear under the David Fickling Books imprint in the UK and will be published in association with Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books in the USA.

Once Upon a Time in the North is a companion volume to Lyra’s Oxford (though about double the length of that story) and, like that work, set in Lyra Belacqua’s world and not our own.

The events of Once Upon a Time in the North happen before Lyra was born and in it we meet two of the most popular and enduring of Philip’s characters, the tough American balloonist Lee Scoresby and the great armoured bear and Lyra’s guardian, Iorek Byrnison. The story recounts the very first meeting of these two heroes, an encounter eagerly awaited by all Pullman fans. Lee Scoresby and his hare daemon, Hester, crash land their trading balloon on to Novy Odense, a port in the far Arctic North, and so find themselves right in the middle of a political powder keg that threatens to explode into a street-fight. Honour is at stake and Lee is not a man to duck a matter of honour. And this is the very first time that Lee gets to use his trusty and celebrated Winchester rifle . . .

Like Lyra’s Oxford, the story is presented as an exquisitely designed cloth-bound book and includes many other teasingly authentic memorabilia and clues from the His Dark Materials universe gathered together, it seems, by Lyra herself. This includes photographs, newspaper cuttings, bills of lading and an exciting and gorgeous Arctic Balloonist Board Game, Challenge the Wind, all beautifully illustrated and rendered by master engraver John Lawrence.

Philip Pullman says, “Writing this story was a matter of pure enjoyment. The two characters at the heart of it, Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnison, were old comrades-in-arms when Lyra met them first in Northern Lights. It was obvious that they had a history, and it was my son Jamie who first suggested that I should write about it. When David Fickling had the idea of doing that in a similar format to Lyra’s Oxford I leapt at the idea at once. I hope readers will enjoy this tale of the first meeting between these two honourable but down-at-heel adventurers.”

Philip Pullman is one of the most highly acclaimed authors of our time. Worldwide sales of over 15 million copies reflect the enormous global appeal of His Dark Materials. He has won the Whitbread Book of the Year (The Amber Spyglass), Carnegie Medal (Northern Lights) and the Guardian Prize (The Amber Spyglass). He is also a recipient of the Eleanor Farjeon Award for Services to Children’s Literature and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest children’s literature prize.

He is the author of over 20 books and two plays. He lives near Oxford, England.

David Fickling says, “A brand-new, completely original piece of Philip Pullman storytelling is one of the most exciting publishing events imaginable, and doubly so this time because with Once Upon a Time in the North Philip is on absolutely top form.”

A major film of The Golden Compass (Northern Lights) starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman will be released by New Line this autumn.

Once Upon a Time in the North will be published in the UK by David Fickling Books on 3rd April 2008 and in the US by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers on 8th April 2008.

Lyra’s Oxford will be published into paperback by Corgi on 1st November 2007 at £4.99, and is currently available in hardback from David Fickling Books.

For further information please contact:

In the UK – Philippa Dickinson tel: 020 8231 6628

In the US – Judith Haut tel: (212) 782-8626


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