Hot Key Books, part of Bonnier Zaffre, has acquired high-concept YA trilogy City of Nightmares, by debut novelist and Faber Academy graduate Holly Race.
Georgia Murray, Commissioning Editor at Bonnier Zaffre, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights including eBook and audio from Simon Trewin and Anna Dixon in the London office of WME.
City of Nightmares (working title) is a thrilling and startingly original YA fantasy with a contemporary feel that moves between a real London and its dream version, Annwn, a place infused with the mystery and magic of Arthurian legend. It also has, in its protagonists, twins Fern and Ollie King, a heroine and hero to rival The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark.
Murray said: “I loved this story from the reading of the very first pages, watching our protagonist scramble over the rooftops of a dream London, is when I knew that we were in the hands of a very special writer. Holly has a gift for extraordinarily imaginative world-building and storytelling and City of Nightmares is the most exciting YA novel I have read in a long time.”
I am thrilled to be working with Georgia and the team at Hot Key, whose passion for Fern and Ollie and the world of the Knights blew me away from our first conversation.
Race said: “When I first had the idea to set Fern’s journey inside the world of our dreams the task of building this expansive universe felt incredibly daunting. Long walks around London, with all its rich history and beautiful architecture, inspired me to create an alternative Capital – one where St Paul’s Cathedral is populated by angels, unicorns graze alongside deer in Richmond Park and Buckingham Palace is overrun by packs of corgis. I am thrilled to be working with Georgia and the team at Hot Key, whose passion for Fern and Ollie and the world of the Knights blew me away from our first conversation.”
Holly Race is a development executive working in the film and TV industry, most recently with Aardman. She is a Faber Academy graduate and City of Nightmares is her debut novel.
The three books are set to publish in February 2020, October 2020 and July 2021 respectively, under the Hot Key Books imprint.