Scholastic Acquiring Chicken House Publishing

Posted on May 6, 2005

Scholastic Inc. is acquiring UK-based Chicken House Publishing Ltd., whose founder Barry Cunningham's list includes the current bestseller Dragon Rider with 900,000 books in print in the U.S. and Canada. Cunningham and Chicken House have had a successful publishing partnership with Scholastic in the U.S., Canada and Australia since 2001.

Barry Cunningham is credited with signing J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for Bloomsbury Ltd. in the UK. Following that incredible success story, Cunningham established his own publishing business, Chicken House. In addition to numerous other titles, Chicken House and U.S. publishing partner Scholastic published Cornelia Funke's three recent New York Times bestsellers: Inkheart, The Thief Lord, and Dragon Rider.

Commenting on the acquisition, Richard Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic said, "Chicken House shares with Scholastic a mission to find and publish the very best books for children. Barry Cunningham and his team have shown a "wizard's" touch in finding great new authors such as Cornelia Funke. Scholastic will help extend the reach of the Chicken House imprint to even more children through our broad distribution network of school book clubs and school book fairs around the world."

This year, Cunningham once again spotted a first-time author whose rise from meager resources to newfound fame is similar to that of J.K. Rowling. Stuart Hill is a former car upholsterer and book shop assistant, whose epic children's novel, The Cry of the Icemark, is on the bestseller list in the UK and arrived in U.S. bookstores last month. The Chicken House list also includes award-winning YA author Kevin Brooks' Martyn Pig, which was short-listed for the prestigious Carnegie Medal in England, as well as Lucas, Kissing the Rain, and most recently, Candy.

The Chicken House team, led by Barry Cunningham and Deputy Managing Director Rachel Hickman, will continue to operate from its headquarters in Somerset, England and will be part of the Scholastic Children's Trade Book division. Barry Cunningham will report to New York-based Ellie Berger, Senior Vice President, Scholastic Trade Books. Barry will also work closely with Kate Wilson, Managing Director of Scholastic UK.

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