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Move over Amy Schumer.
Quvenzhane Wallis has inked a deal to publish four books with Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. The deal covers a chapter-book trilogy as well as a picture book written by Wallis, who became the youngest actress ever to receive a best actress Academy Award nomination for her starring role in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Wallis is the latest actress to make an ambitious foray into the literary world, following in the footsteps of Lena Dunham and Schumer, who last month scored a $9 million advance to pen a memoir titled The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo for Simon & Schuster.
A source pegs the Wallis deal at six figures.
World rights were jointly acquired by Christian Trimmer, executive editor of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and Dawn Davis, vp and publisher of 37 INK, a division of Atria. ICM Partners’ Esther Newberg brokered the deal.
The first book in the trilogy is set to launch in January 2017, followed by the second book and the picture book in fall 2017. The third chapter book is scheduled for summer 2018. Illustrators for the series and the picture book have yet to be selected.
Now 12 years old, Wallis has since appeared in films like 12 Years a Slave and last year’s holiday musical Annie, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination.
“Reading is very important,” Wallis. “It allows people to form a visual experience in their minds of what is going on in the story. I hope all readers enjoy using their imaginations along with me and take a journey into my books.”
Loosely based on the author’s own experiences, Wallis’ yet-to-be-titled picture book follows a spunky young heroine who is very much looking forward to a night out with her mom at an awards show. The duo has a grand time getting dressed up, riding in a limo and walking the red carpet.
A precocious and talented third grader is the protagonist of Wallis’ chapter book series. The books follow Shai Williams, a star in the making, who has a flair for the dramatic … both onstage and off.
“I’m thrilled that Quvenzhane is turning her estimable abilities to books,” Trimmer said. “Her dedication to great storytelling is readily apparent. Readers of all ages are in for a big treat.”
Added Davis: “The characters Quvenzhane has portrayed have an alluring mix of self-possession and vulnerability. We look forward to her bringing that same electric combination to the page. We also hope these books will help expand the diverse array of voices in the children’s book space.”
Wallis is repped by ICM Partners and Lichter Grossman.
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