Spotlight On: David Fickling Books Ltd.
By Holly Allwright, Emma Rogers, Ekta Rajagopalan, Rosie Pinder
In the ever-evolving world of literature, few names evoke the same sense of wonder, creativity and innovation as David Fickling Books (DFB). As an esteemed publisher with a remarkable track record, David Fickling Books has made an indelible mark on the literary landscape. In this article, we delve into the captivating world of David Fickling Books, uncovering the publisher's rich history, its commitment to nurturing exceptional talent and the enchanting stories that have graced its pages.
Nearing twelve years old, David Fickling Books began as an imprint of both Scholastic and Random House before operating as an independent publisher in July 2013 alongside its sister company. Home to novels such as Tyger by S. F. Said, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, DFB has had great successes both critically and commercially.
At the helm of David Fickling Books is David Fickling himself! Fickling began his publishing career at Oxford University Press, where he signed Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy. He later worked at Transworld and Scholastic before setting up DFB in 2000. In 2004, Fickling won the British Book Awards Editor of the Year award.
DFB is also the home of The Phoenix, a story comic book for children aged 7 to 14. The comic launched on 7th January 2012 with a preview issue, which was released in late 2011. What makes this comic stand out from the crowd is that it does not exclusively feature humour strips – it also features adventure stories like The Lost Boy as well as text stories and puzzles. The Phoenix publishes weekly and aims to tear kids away from the screen and get them reading.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Published in 2003, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is a mystery novel that follows the story of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy with Asperger's Syndrome. When he discovers a dead dog on the neighbour’s lawn, he decides to solve the mystery and write a detective thriller about it. But the more he unearths, the deeper the mystery gets. The book has won several awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. A stage adaption of the novel premiered at the National Theatre in August 2012 to critical acclaim, and the rights for the film have been optioned for Warner Brothers.
Published this year in hardback, Tyger by S.F. Said and illustrated by Dave McKean is a mystery novel that won Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2023. Tyger follows the journey of Adam and Zadie and a curious mythical creature, Tyger, that Adam found in the rubbish dump in London. Can Adam and Zadie learn to control their powers and save the world and Tyger before the impending destruction? Tyger is out in paperback now!
Bunny vs. Monkey: The Impossible Pig
The eighth book in the bestselling graphic novel series from comics sensation Jamie Smart – now in super-special hardback! Jamie Smart's big-selling book success story continues with this turbo-charged hardback collection of comics, never before published in book form.
Loveable Pig has vanished, and the Woods are in uproar! Life in the Woods is more bonkers than usual, and this book promises tons of silliness and laughs. The fifth book in this series was also shortlisted for the Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2023.
The Bookseller made this comment on Jamie Smart’s positioning in the TCM (total consumer market) – “The fifth book in Jamie Smart’s Bunny vs Monkey series was a turning point. David Fickling Books championed the series’ uniqueness as a much-loved collection, securing a 94% increase in first-week sales on Smart’s last outing. He ended the year as the 28th-bestselling author in the TCM [total consumer market], having risen from 96th place.”
It’s clear from just a small number of examples that David Fickling Books publishes a really wide and exciting variety of content, both in terms of format and subject. It is rare for an independent publisher to cultivate such an industry–leading approach, but the titles published by DFB certainly stand out as doing just that. It will be very exciting to see how this publisher develops in the coming years, but they will certainly continue to produce books that children of all ages will love to read.