Hear ye, hear ye!
We bring good news on this lovely Wednesday – Benjamin Dean has won big with Simon & Schuster Children’s in his fantastic deal for two new Young Adult novels, the first being a royal mystery-thriller, The King is Dead, which will star a Black LGBTQ+ lead.
UK & Commonwealth rights were acquired by Commissioning Editor Amina Youssef, in a deal brokered by Chloe Seager, and the book will publish in July 2022. Set in an alternative contemporary reality, The King is Dead is told through the eyes of teen prince James who, following the untimely death of his father, is set to take the throne as the first gay Black ruling monarch. But his journey is far from straightforward, as he contends with prejudice, swirling gossip, romance and deep-buried secrets, as well as a mystery he’s desperate to solve.
Ben has had an amazing year so far, following the release of his widely acclaimed Middle Grade debut in February, Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow. Also published by Simon & Schuster Children’s, the heart-warming and refreshingly original story of a young boy in an interracial family, whose dad comes out as gay. The book has received flurries of press and acclaim, including a cover feature in The Bookseller and being awarded ‘Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month’ for February.
A thrilled Ben commented: “I couldn’t be more excited to venture into the YA space with THE KING IS DEAD. For so long, I’ve wanted to create a royal thriller with a Black and queer king at its heart, and exploring the character of a reluctant monarch with a lot to lose gave me so much to play with. I can’t wait for readers to step through the gates of Buckingham Palace and into a world of secrets, lies and royal deception.”
Amina Youssef noted: “Ben is a hugely exciting new voice and he’s brimming with ideas. All I had to do was read the pitch for THE KING IS DEAD and I was sold: a page-turning mystery, juicy secrets, the first sparks of love – and at the book’s heart is an important message about racism and prejudice and what it really means to be the first gay Black monarch on the throne. We’re so thrilled to be launching this knockout YA strand, alongside Ben’s critically acclaimed middle-grade.”
Chloe Seager added: “The moment Ben mentioned this idea I knew he had to write it; this book is going to be one of the most electrifying YA debuts of the year, from one of the most exciting and talented new authors.”
Benjamin Dean is a London-based celebrity reporter. He has interviewed a host of glitzy celebrities and broke the news that Rihanna can’t wink (she blinks, in case you were wondering). His middle-grade debut, Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow (2021), was described as ‘One of the most joyful books you’ll read this year’ (The Bookseller). Benjamin can be found on Twitter as @notagainben tweeting about Rihanna and LGBTQ+ culture to his 10,000+ followers.