Macmillan Children’s Books is to publish two new middle-grade stories about a professional football team of llamas by debut author Scott Allen. The two-book deal for world rights was secured at auction by Rachel Kellehar, Fiction Editor for the 6+ division, from Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency.
Fully illustrated in black and white throughout by Sarah Horne, the books will focus on what happens when a group of llamas unknowingly eat the ashes of one of the greatest footballers of all time and inherit his footballing talent. Managed by eleven-year-old Tim, his best friend, Cairo, and Scottish World Cup-winning footballer McCloud, the llamas are entered into the greatest tournament known to man . . . the Cup. The beautiful game is about to get very woolly!
The first book, Llama United, will publish on 4 May 2017, both as a paperback original and an eBook, priced at £6.99, with a sequel featuring the World Cup publishing in May 2018.
Rachel Kellehar, Fiction Editor, says: ‘"This is a heartfelt and genuinely laugh-out-loud read from a very talented debut author, and I am beyond thrilled to be working with Scott on bringing this fantastic team of llamas into the limelight – football has never seemed so funny!"
Venetia Gosling, Publisher, says: "Having been spat at by a llama as a child, I wouldn’t have seen myself as a natural champion for a book about llamas, but this is such a brilliant concept, with such wonderful characters, that I was won over! Scott is a really naturally funny writer and kids are going to adore these stories – who doesn’t love an underdog/llama?"
Scott Allen, Author, says: "I’ve worked in sports journalism for over fifteen years, with football taking up most of my working day. I wanted to see what would happen if llamas were dropped into the ultra-serious world of professional football – hopefully injecting an element of fun and puncturing the footballing stereotypes that fill it."
Scott Allen was brought up in the horse-racing town of Epsom. After discovering he was too tall and heavy to be a jockey he turned his attention to football. At sixteen he started writing for fanzines before becoming a professional sports writer, editor and digital-content specialist. He is a fanatical West Ham supporter, but we won’t hold that against him. Scott now lives in Yorkshire with his family.