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Annabel Steadman (OKS) wins record publishing deal & movie contract for fantasy series

Annabel Steadman (OKS, Marlowe 2005-10) has landed what’s believed to be the world’s biggest ever book deal and a Sony Pictures movie deal for her children’s fantasy adventure series Skandar and the Unicorn Thief.

It’s been a “whirlwind” two weeks for Annabel—whose talent was obvious during her time at King’s after arriving from Northbourne Park School—with her debut book sparking a bidding war. She eventually signed with Simon & Schuster, one of the largest publishing companies in the industry, for what is believed to be the biggest book advance in history, and says she now keeps waking up in the middle of the night to check her emails and make sure it’s real. 

The three-part series follows Skandar Smith in a world where unicorns are deadly, and can only be tamed by the rider who hatches them. Annabel’s first novel is expected to be released in spring 2022, 13 years on from when she won the Upper School Creative Writing Competition for Seven and a half months, a short story which can be read in the 2009 edition of The Cantuarian below.

In an interview with Kent Online this week, Annabel reminisced about seeing her work in print as a pupil. “At King’s I remember I had a short story published in the school’s Cantuarian magazine and at that time it felt like such a massive achievement to get something in print. That was a real great moment, when I thought people wanted to read what I’d written.

“As well as ambition, 12-year-old me had a lot of worries, so I wish I could go back in time to tell her that she’d be published one day.”

Everyone at King’s will be eagerly awaiting the first book of the series!

Read about English at King’s here.