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Scribner Australia is delighted to announce its acquisition of ANZ rights to Chloe Hooper’s new work of non-fiction, Bedtime Story, from Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency for publication in early 2022.


Hooper is the acclaimed author of two previous works of non-fiction – The Arsonist and The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island (which won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing) – and two novels, A Child’s Book of True Crime and The Engagement. She is also the mother of two young sons.


When her partner Don Watson was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer, Hooper searched for a way to talk to their sons about what their family was going through. Trying to prepare them for the illness’s possible conclusion, she turned to their bookshelves for guidance – reading children’s classics through her new lens, she often found hard-won wisdom about the fragility of life hiding in plain sight.


In Bedtime Story, Hooper explores how to talk with children about death, this most taboo of subjects, in ways that won’t leave them afraid of life. Part memoir, part literary quest, Hooper examines how mortality is explored in children’s literature from the Brothers Grimm to J.K. Rowling, and how the writers’ own lives and losses informed their work.


While Hooper’s tale has a happy ending (within a year her partner was in remission) she realised that talking to children about death gives us a chance to discuss how they, and we, might best live.


Hooper says: “I’m delighted to be working with my long-term editor, Ben Ball, on this project which is very close to my heart.”


Ben Ball, Publishing Director of Scribner Australia says: ‘From A Child’s Book of True Crime, Chloe’s writing has had a special insight into childhood and its literature, taking its wisdom and mythologies seriously. So she is the perfect guide to this most profound of subjects.’


Bedtime Story will be published in 2022.


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