It’s a huge pleasure to finally be able to reveal the secret project Eoin and Giovanni and I have been working on for months… it’s a new, original, graphic novel entitled Illegal.

Image from Illegal

Art by Giovanni Rigano

It’s being published by the lovely people at Hodder and we couldn’t be more excited.

Here’s how Hodder announced the deal…

Hodder Children’s Books is proud to announce the acquisition of Illegal, a powerful graphic novel from the Irish Children’s Laureate Eoin Colfer and children’s author and graphic novelist Andrew Donkin. Illegal is to be published in hardback in Autumn 2017 and tells the story of a desperate journey for asylum. It is written by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin and illustrated by Italian artist, Giovanni Rigano.”

Anne McNeil, Publishing Director for Hodder Children’s Books, comments: “I was born in West Africa. On one of several trips back as an adult, I met a young man on the beach who told me about his boat trip to Europe. He told me that the seas were huge, and people were literally praying on their knees. When they got to their destination, the people on the boat were jailed; and then sent back. He came home to his village, lay on the beach and cried. His story stayed with me. I am proud to be publishing Illegal – a book from master-storytellers that will open the minds of all who read it.”

Lifelong comic fans, Colfer and Donkin have collaborated previously on five very successful graphic novel adaptations of Colfer’s books. This is their first original graphic novel together. Illegal is the story of Ebo and Kwame and their tortuous journey from North Africa to seek a new life in Europe.

Eoin Colfer comments: “We wanted to tell this important story in the visually rich and immediately engaging format of a graphic novel – it’s the perfect medium to do it.”

Visualised in glorious full-colour art, this extraordinary story is brought to vivid life for an audience of children (and adults) who are aware of the very real plight of migrants and asylum seekers through the news today. On a topic which is often dehumanised through the media, Colfer and Donkin offer a first person perspective of what migrants and refugees must overcome to survive, told with empathy and understanding. Additionally, the graphic novel also features three powerful stories of migrants told in their own words, adapted into the graphic format by the team.“

Here’s the bios of the creative team and a bit about the terrific folks at Hodder Children’s Books.

About Eoin Colfer: Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen) was born in Wexford on the South-East coast of Ireland in 1965. He first developed an interest in writing as a child when he was gripped by the Viking stories he learned about at school. After obtaining a degree from Dublin University, Eoin qualified as a primary school teacher and returned to work in Wexford. After his marriage, he and his wife spent about four years between 1992 and 1996 working in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. His first book, Benny and Omar, was published in 1998, based on his experiences in Tunisia; it has since been translated into many languages. In 2001 the first Artemis Fowl book was published and Eoin gave up teaching to concentrate fully on writing. Eoin, who lives in Ireland with his wife and two children says, “I will keep writing until people stop reading or I run out of ideas. Hopefully neither of these will happen anytime soon.”

About Andrew Donkin: Andrew Donkin has sold over eight million children’s books, graphic novels, and adult books in the last fifteen years. His work in comics includes Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight and Doctor Who. With Eoin Colfer, he has co-written five bestselling graphic novel adaptations of Colfer’s books. Andrew became interested in the issue of migrants and asylum while writing the biography of Sir Alfred Mehran, a stateless man who lived on a bench in Paris Airport for 18 years. The resulting book, The Terminal Man, was described by The Sunday Times as ‘a brilliant and profoundly disturbing book.’ Andrew lives near the River Thames in London with his family.

About Giovanni Rigano: Giovanni Rigano is an Italian comics artist and creator of many graphic novels. He has adapted five of Eoin Colfer’s novels into graphic novels as well as Disney-Pixar’s The Incredibles and two Pirates of the Caribbean novels. His creator-owned series Daffodil won several comic awards. He lives in Como, Italy.

About Hodder Children’s Books: Hodder Children’s Books is an imprint of the Hachette Children’s Group, one of the most successful children’s publishers in the UK and part of Hachette UK. Hodder Children’s Books has an excellent track record in creating bestselling and award winning books for children of all ages and interests. Picture book brands from Mick Inkpen’s Wibbly Pig and Kipper to David Melling’s Hugless Douglas and Alex T. Smith’s CLAUDE sit side-by-side on an unparalleled list that is home to fiction brands including Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five and The Secret Seven, Cressida Cowell’s How To Train Your Dragon, L J Smith’s Vampire Diaries and Robert Muchamore’s CHERUB. We are proudly home to Hans Christian Andersen medal winner David Almond and Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner Shaun Tan. For more information please visit

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