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Maker of children's films gets into the book business

May 13, 2008

NEW YORK -- Walden Media, which has produced 15 films based on children's books, is getting into the publishing business in conjunction with HarperCollins.

The company, which has adapted such HarperCollins titles as "The Chronicles of Narnia," "Bridge to Terabithia" and "Charlotte's Web" for the screen, will be launching Walden Pond Press, acquiring and publishing books for children, the companies said Monday.

The new venture "solidifies our already successful relationship," said Susan Katz, publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books. It will have offices in the publisher's New York headquarters as well as at Walden Media in Boston.

Besides publishing, the unit will actively explore possible film adaptations of its titles. The new unit will be headed by Brenda Bowen, publisher of Bowen Press at HarperCollins, and Deborah Kovacs, senior vice president of publishing at Walden Media.

Previously, Walden Media had been working with Penguin on a joint publishing-film venture. Under the new arrangement, Walden will have its own HarperCollins imprint, which is scheduled to launch next year with the publication of three books. The first title will be "The Will of Will Wolfkin," by screenwriter Steven Knight, who wrote "Eastern Promises" and "Dirty Pretty Things." Knight, whose new book is about a young girl in Darfur, is also writing the screenplay for the third Narnia installment, "Voyage of the Dawn Treader."

josh.getlin@latimes.com
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