Hyperion has lost two more execs to HarperCollins. After last week’s big news that Hyperion adult group founder Bob Miller was defecting to launch a new imprint at HC, Donna Bray and Alessandra Balzer, editorial director and executive editor at Hyperion Books for Children, respectively, have been lured away by Harper as well. The two, who have worked together for 12 years, will start their own eponymous imprint, called Balzer & Bray, beginning in May.
The new imprint, which is slated to launch in fall 2009, will be releasing picture books through YA titles; no figure has been set for the first list. Bray and Balzer told PW that the list will reflect the same work they’ve been doing at
Hyperion. Balzer is the editor of bestselling author and artist Mo Willems, who has won three Caldecott Honors; she also edited Sold by Patricia McCormick, a National Book Award finalist, and John, Paul, George, & Ben by Lane Smith. She works with Eoin Colfer, author of the internationally bestselling Artemis Fowl series, and Jonathan Stroud, who wrote the Bartimaeus trilogy. Among the books that Bray has edited are the Newbery Medal-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi; National Book Award finalist The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich; Clementine by Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee, I’d Tell You I Love You But I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter, We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson and Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio and LeUyen Pham. She also launched the Baby Einstein book publishing program at Hyperion.
Bray and Balzer’s departure follows another notable loss in the Hyperion children’s department: Brenda Bowen left the company last May, and joined HC. (Bowen, who had been v-p, editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Global Books, also has her own imprint, The Bowen Press.)
Jeanne Mosure, senior v-p and publisher of Global Children’s Books, Disney
Publishing Worldwide, said that she will be looking for replacements for Balzer and Bray and that the defections are not a sign of trouble at her division. “Hyperion is not going away,” she said, adding that the division just reported the two best quarters in its history. “Unfortunately change happens, but we’re here to stay.”
Mosure also added that a name change is in the works. Hyperion, long under the Disney Group, will now be called Disney-Hyperion. The change, which will be effective by January 2009, allows, according to director of publicity Jennifer Levine, for a way to better associate the two brands together. “The company is really proud of Hyperion and wanted to associate it more closely with Disney,” she said.