Bonnier Books UK is to publish 10 new books from Wilbur Smith, who at 87 is one of the world’s oldest and most successful bestselling novelists, someone whose titles have been a staple item in the world’s airport bookstores for 50 years. The deal for world all-language rights was concluded with Smith, his wife and business director Niso Smith, and their agent Kevin Conroy Scott at Tibor Jones.
The titles will include a number of Egyptian titles, returning to the world he created in a series of books he published in the Nineties, first with Pan Macmillan and later HarperCollins. The first title is Ancient Egypt: the New Kingdom, co-authored by Mark Chadbourn. Smith’s use of co-authors is well-known and is a pattern with iconic, global bestselling writers like Smith and James Patterson.
Bonnier’s CEO Perminder Mann said: “This major new agreement further strengthens the close creative partnership formed between Wilbur Smith and Bonnier Books UK that commenced back in 2017. We are absolutely delighted to announce the deal and to continue on this exciting journey together over the coming years.”
In 2017, Bonnier poached Smith from HarperCollins in an eight-figure deal described as “one of the biggest in publishing history”. Smith is estimated to have sold more than 130m books worldwide and is currently published in 25 languages.
Smith, who is 87, said: “I’d like to thank my readers for inspiring me to keep imagining over the past eight years. Thanks to them I’ve continued the legacy of my characters while answering their curiosity about my characters’ fate. We now have ten new novels ready for my readers and their families and a treasure chest of 20 outlines for the future. Bonnier Books UK provides a wonderful home for the Courtneys, the Ballantynes, Taita and every character in between. I still get excited when I look down over this fictional universe that I’ve created and think about new stories to come.”