Former Inquirer journalist Candy Quimpo Gourlay this week sold her novel TALL STORY to David Fickling Books (DFB), joining a prestigious list that includes John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) and Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass). DFB praises the book as “an outstanding and highly orginal novel”.

Candy, who lives in London, however reserved Philippine publication rights for Filipino publisher Ramon “RayVi” Sunico.

Sunico is the manager of Cacho Publishing House, which has pioneered in bringing teen fiction to the Philippine publishing scene.

“It was so important to me that a Pinoy publisher will be the one who brings my writing to the Filipino public. I am thrilled that RayVi is going to be that publisher,” Candy said.

In turn, Sunico said, “From the moment I discovered Candy’s blog and read the crisp, crackling prose of Tall Story, I knew that getting her read here would benefit not only the growing field of Philippine Young Adult lit but inspire many young Filipinos.” candy.jpg

Says Bella Pearson, Editorial Director of DFB: “It isn’t often that I am in fits of laughter one minute and in tears the next – TALL STORY is one of the warmest, funniest, most moving books I’ve read in a long time – and Candy Gourlay is a rare and new voice in children’s fiction. We are feeling immensely excited (and smug!) to be able to add her name to the DFB list.”

TALL STORY uses the Bernardo Carpio legend and other Philippine folk lore as a stepping off point to tell the story of a teenage boy named Bernardo who grows to eight feet tall. After years separated by immigration paperwork, Bernardo meets his half English sister Andi with by turns hilarious and touching results.

A hardback of TALL STORY will be published in the United Kingdom in June 2010 and later in the United States later in the year.

A publication date will soon be announced in the Philippines.

DFB is an imprint of Random House, one of the biggest publishing companies in the world.

“I can’t believe my luck. Not only do I get to work with RayVi Sunico who is himself a fabulous poet, but I get to meet David Fickling whom I’ve always admired – his books are always gorgeously published and his taste is impeccable,” Candy said.

Candy moved to the UK in 1989 after she married Richard Gourlay, who was the Manila-based correspondent for the Financial Times of London. In the UK, she became the London correspondent of the news agency Inter Press Service and later the editor of the pan-European magazine Filipinos in Europe. They have three children.

The deal with Fickling and Sunico was negotiated by Candy’s agent, Hilary Delamere who represents such high profile children’s authors as Raymond Briggs (The Snowman) and Carnegie winning Siobhan Dowd (Bog Child).

Notes for Editors

Ramón C. Sunico manages Cacho Publishing House, which is owned by National Bookstore, the Philippines’ largest bookstore chain and importer of American and English tradebooks.

He is one of the pioneers of the children’s book industry and was responsible for the adoption of the bilingual text format (English/Tagalog) now copied by other children’s book publishers in the country.

As a member of the two main non-profit foundations that promote literacy and the love for books among the youth, The Philippine Board on Books for Young People and Sa Aklat Sisikat (To Excel through Books), he pursues his advocacyfor the production of books that a) Filipinos can afford and b) incorporate the Philippine cultural and social experience within the larger tradition of world literature.

Sunico and his team are now in the process of building the country’s first series of Young Adult novels. After the fall of the Marcos regime in 1986, Sunico was part of a new generation of publishers responsible for the renewal of the Philippine book industry and was instrumental in the use of the then new technology of personal computers to modernize local book design while allowing for more cost-effective solutions in book production.

In recognition of this, he was awarded a grant by the Frankfurt Bookfair and the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft to pursue a year-long Praktikum program with German publishers.

Cacho publishes the country’s three all-time bestsellers in the category of contemporary Philippine fiction. These novels by Lualhati Bautista top the basic reading list in Filipino of the country’s high schools.