Ebury imprint Happy Place Books, which is overseen by Fearne Cotton, has signed the first books from Jono Lancaster and Samantha Renke

Reporting Mark Chandler F

earne Coton’s Happy Place Books has scooped début titles from Samantha

Renke and Jono Lancaster. Renke, an activist, broadcaster, columnist, charit ambassador and disabilit consultant, will be publishing her first, currently untitled, book next summer. World all-language rights were bought by editor Michelle Warner from Diana Beaumont at Marjacq, in association with Andrew Roach Talent.

The publisher said: “In her upliſting and laugh-out-loud memoir, Samantha Renke shares powerful life lessons and messages of how to live boldly and follow your dreams whatever life throws at you.” Renke has a rare genetic condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, more commonly known as “britle bone condition”, and is a full-time wheelchair user. She has had 200 broken bones and more than 10 operations, including spinal fusion and telescopic leg rodding. She said: “Like most things I have succeeded with in life, I’ve visualised writing this book for many years. I have a story to tell of a prety darn exceptional life. It has been weird, exhilarat- ing and, quite oſten, terrifying. I’ll be sharing my experiences of living with a disabilit, but

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this is not a book about being disabled—my book is about a person trying to find their place in the world and living life to the full. Life isn’t always easy but it sure isn’t boring, and that is the joy in being alive.”

In 2023, Happy Place will also launch début author Lancaster with his first title Not All Heroes Wear Capes: How Self-Love Will Save Your Life. Lancaster spends his time trav- elling around the country, and the world, visiting schools, hospitals and foster organisations, meeting families and children with similar craniofacial conditions, and championing various charities including his own, Love My Face. He has shared his story of growing up in foster care with Treacher Collins Syndrome on a range of national TV and radio platforms, but this is the first time he will discuss how he found self-love and how it transformed his life. The book shares eight simple steps, tools and daily positivit exercises to turn to when you don’t wake up feeling

I’ve visualised writing this book for many years. I have a story to tell of a pretty darn exceptional life Samantha Renke

good about yourself. Lancaster said: “Thousands of people reach out to me for support with body image, self-acceptance, loneliness and trauma from abandonment—parents, teens, pre-teens, outwardly ‘beautiful’ people suffering from secret eating disorders and mental wellbeing issues.

“I feel like I am at a point in my life, having found genuine happiness, that I can reflect on the process that got me here—and the actions I still take each day to reaffirm that mindset. The process is not always easy, but it is revolutionary. I have found parts of myself I am proud of; the world

opened up and continues to open up to me, offering friendship, love and opportunities I never imagined as a kid. If I can get to this place, so can anyone.” World all-language rights were bought by publishing director Laura Higginson directly from the author. Coton said of the acquisitions:

“Listening to one another can be the best way to be introduced to new ways of thinking and living, to access new perspectives that enrich our lives and enable us to support those that have been marginalised and underrepre- sented. I’m constantly floored by the generosit and courage displayed by members of the disabilit communit as they work to advocate for themselves and others. A key mission of mine in curating the Happy Place Books imprint is to elevate voices that need to be heard and cover diverse subject maters to ensure that everybody out there feels like they are being spoken to—I think there is no beter way to use the platform.”

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Débutants Renke and Lancaster join the roster at Cotton’s Happy Place Books

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