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Walden, Harper team up

May 12th, 2008 by Paul Martin

Walden Media is becoming a publisher, partnering with HarperCollins Children’s Books to launch Walden Pond Press.

As part of the multiyear pact, the venture will acquire and publish books for young readers. Naturally, it also plans to turn several of its tomes into film adaptations or pair up properties with other filmmakers.

First published title will be “The Will of Will Wolfkin,” by screenwriter Steven Knight, who penned the pics “Dirty Pretty Things,” “Eastern Promises” and “Amazing Grace.”

Knight is also scripting the third installment of the “Narnia” series, “Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” which Michael Apted is helming.

“Wolfkin” is described as a fantasy set under a glacier in Iceland. It hits bookshelves in fall 2009.

Imprint will be led by Brenda Bowen, VP and publisher of the Bowen Press at HarperCollins, and Deborah Kovacs, senior VP of publishing at Walden Media.

New entity will have offices at HarperCollins’ headquarters in New York and Walden Media in Boston, and will be staffed with its own editorial and marketing team.

Walden and HarperCollins have already been working closely together, adapting “The Chronicles of Narnia” franchise, “Charlotte’s Web” and “Bridge to Terabithia” into films.

“This joint venture solidifies our already successful relationship,” said Susan Katz, prexy and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books. “Having a single imprint will enable Walden Media to focus their book publishing program and Harper to market and sell the books most effectively.”

Altogether, Walden has released 15 pics based on children’s books, including “Holes,” “Nim’s Island,” “The Water Horse” and “Because of Winn-Dixie.”

It’s also co-published a number of books across several imprints at Penguin such as Ingrid Law’s “Savvy,” Mike Lupica’s “Comeback Kids” series, Lauren St. John’s “The White Giraffe” and Michael Reisman’s “Simon Bloom, the Gravity Keeper.” Walden is developing “Savvy” and “White Giraffe” as features. Universal picked up “Simon Bloom” last year.

Variety.com