Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust Release Announcement

Philip Pullman, Author. Photographed by Michael Leckie in Oxford 11th January 2017

Philip Pullman announces Fall 2017 publication of first volume of THE BOOK OF DUST, long-awaited “equel” to His Dark Materials

“What can I tell you about it? The first thing to say is that Lyra is at the center of the story.” —Philip Pullman

New York, NY, February 14, 2017—Philip Pullman’s THE BOOK OF DUST, announced today, is a work in three parts, like the acclaimed author’s His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass). The first volume will be published simultaneously in the US and UK on October 19, and the title and cover will be revealed at a later date. The book will be published by Random House Children’s Books and its Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers imprint in the US with a first printing of 500,000 copies, and by Penguin Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books in the UK.

THE BOOK OF DUST will be published in hardcover and ebook, and is available for pre-order now. Listening Library will simultaneously publish an audiobook edition.

Two decades after The Golden Compass (1996)—the first book of Pullman’s world-famous His Dark Materials trilogy, which has sold more than 17.5 million copies in over 40 languages—THE BOOK OF DUST (#BookofDust) will return to the parallel world that has enthralled readers young and old. The plot will remain under wraps until publication in October, but it can be revealed that the book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua. Alethiometers, daemons, and the Magisterium return to play their part, and Pullman also introduces a host of new characters.

Pullman says: “I know from their letters and tweets that my readers have been waiting patiently (mostly) for THE BOOK OF DUST for a long time. It gives me great pleasure and some excitement at last to satisfy their curiosity (and mine) about this book. So, is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, THE BOOK OF DUST is . . . an ‘equel’. It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.” (See below for additional comments from Pullman.)

Published between 1996 and 2000, Pullman’s spellbinding His Dark Materials trilogy is widely regarded as a modern classic that has captivated readers for over twenty years and won acclaim at every turn. Its heroine, Lyra Belacqua, frequently tops polls as an all-time favorite character, and the series is praised as one of the best, including being named an All-Time Greatest Novel by Entertainment Weekly and a Top 100 Book of All Time by Newsweek, which also said, “Pullman is quite possibly a genius.” The New Statesman wrote of the trilogy: “Once in a lifetime a children’s author emerges who is so extraordinary that the imagination of generations is altered. . . . The most ambitious work since the Lord of the Rings, [His Dark Materials] is as intellectually thrilling as it is magnificently written.”

Individually, the three books of His Dark Materials—The Golden Compass (titled Northern Lights in the UK), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass—have won several literary prizes, among them the Carnegie Medal (1996) and the “Carnegie of Carnegies” (2007) and the first Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year Award (2001) given to a children’s novel.His Dark Materials will appear once again in a BBC One adaptation in 2018, produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema.

“The announcement of Philip Pullman’s THE BOOK OF DUST has been a highly anticipated event for our industry,” says Barbara Marcus, President & Publisher, Random House Children’s Books. “Pullman is an extraordinary writer whose thought-provoking works deserve all the acclaim that has been bestowed upon them. As his stories always do, THE BOOK OF DUST will address themes that resonate widely with readers young and old, and the world we live in today. We are eager to share this new book with the legions of longtime fans of His Dark Materials, and those who are new to Pullman and lucky enough to experience his magical worlds for the very first time.”

“It is so exciting to be back in Lyra’s Oxford and to learn more about Dust, daemons, and the dangerous forces that shape her world,” says Nancy Siscoe, Senior Executive Editor, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers. “THE BOOK OF DUST introduces a thrilling and mysterious new adventure with the beloved Lyra and a new hero readers will take into their hearts as well—an ordinary boy who escapes with Lyra into the torrent of a massive flood. Pullman’s storytelling is magnificent—he lives up to his own impossibly high standard with this new work.” 

More from Philip Pullman on the publication of THE BOOK OF DUST:

“What can I tell you about it? The first thing to say is that Lyra is at the center of the story. Events involving her open the first chapter, and will close the last. I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.

“Why return to Lyra’s world? Dust. Questions about that mysterious and troubling substance were already causing strife ten years before His Dark Materials, and at the center of THE BOOK OF DUST is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization that wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free. Little by little through that story the idea of what Dust was became clearer and clearer, but I always wanted to return to it and discover more.”

US PRESS CONTACT

Dominique Cimina / dcimina@penguinrandomhouse.com / 212-782-9314

Additional Information

About His Dark Materials

The Golden Compass (1996): “Without this child, we shall all die.” Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans and armored bears reign. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world. . . .

The Subtle Knife (1997): Will has just killed a man. He’s on the run. His escape will take him out of his own world entirely, to the eerie disquiet of a deserted city, and to a girl, Lyra. Her fate is strangely linked to his, and together they must find the most powerful weapon in all the worlds. . . .

The Amber Spyglass (2000): Will and Lyra, whose fates are bound together by powers beyond their own worlds, have been violently separated. But they must find each other, for ahead of them lies the greatest war that has ever been—and a journey to a dark place from which no one has ever returned. . . . 

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, UK, in 1946 and educated in England, Zimbabwe, Australia, and Wales. He studied English at Exeter College, Oxford. After graduating, Pullman went into teaching, at various Oxford middle schools before moving to Westminster College in 1986 for eight years. He retains a passionate interest in education.

His first books published in the US were a quartet of Victorian thrillers featuring the intrepid Sally Lockhart: The Ruby in the Smoke (1987), The Shadow in the North (1988), The Tiger in the Well (1990), and The Tin Princess (1994). Other works include Spring-Heeled Jack (1991), The Broken Bridge (1992), The White Mercedes (1993), Count Karlstein (1998), I Was a Rat! (2000), The Scarecrow and His Servant (2005), and Two Crafty Criminals! (2012).

His most famous work is His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, along with three related shorter tales: Lyra’s Oxford (2003), Once Upon a Time in the North (2008), and The Collectors (2015). These books have been honored with several prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children’s Book Award, and (forThe Amber Spyglass) the Whitbread Book of the Year Award—the first time that prize was given to a children’s book. Pullman has received numerous other awards, including the 2002 Eleanor Farjeon Award for children’s literature and the 2005 Astrid Lindgren Award, jointly with the Japanese illustrator Ryoji Arai.

Philip Pullman lives in Oxford. Further information can be found at philip-pullman.com.

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