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Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Wilbur Smith signs with Bonnier Zaffre in one of the biggest deals in publishing history

The Bookseller recently reported that Bonnier Zaffre has poached Wilbur Smith from HarperCollins in an eight-figure deal.

Bonnier Publishing group chief executive, Richard Johnson, described this deal as “one of the biggest in publishing history”.

Mark Smith, CEO of Bonnier Zaffre, acquired global all-language rights to eight new Smith books, together with English language rights to 34 backlist titles including When the Lion Feeds, Elephant Song and River God.

The illustrious author has sold roughly more than 130 million copies of his novels worldwide, and is currently published in 25 languages.

HarperCollins published Smith’s first co-authored novel, Golden Lion, in September 2015 shortly after he moved from Pan Macmillan. This six-book deal is rumoured to be worth £15 million. Prior to this shift, Smith published 34 novels with Pan Macmillan. Smith’s last book with HarperCollins is due to be published later this year.

The fourteenth installment in the perennial fan-favourite Courtney-series, War Cry, was released in May 2017.


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