Quirk Books founder Dave Borgenicht, who is also the creator and coauthor of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook and father of that volume’s many lively offspring, says his company’s mission hasn’t changed in the 10 years it’s been publishing. If anything, the mission has become more finely articulated over time. “We want to do cool entertainment to amuse and inform the world as much as we can,” Borgenicht says. “We want to succeed not just as a publisher but as a publishing and entertainment company.”
In keeping with this goal, the company published Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in 2009, its first work of fiction. “It was a huge hit,” Borgenicht says. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters was next. The term “mashup novel” was born. Night of the Living Trekkies, a zombie novel, came out in 2010, the first mashup not piggybacked onto a famous author’s work: an original mashup. “But the mashup trend wasn’t going to last much longer.”
Last year Quirk published its first wholly original fiction and its first YA novel, Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (optioned by 20th Century Fox, with Tim Burton possibly to direct). In September it will launch its first middle-grade series with Charles Gilman’s Tales from Lovecraft Middle School: Professor Gargoyle, about supernatural goings-on at a haunted high school (#2, The Slither Sisters, will be out in January). “Tales from Lovecraft has the same DNA as Miss Peregrine’s, and the same editor, Jason Rekulak,” Borgenicht says. Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America (Sept.) is the company’s first narrative nonfiction book. Another first is the company’s foray into kids’ publishing with Monkeyfarts! Wacky Jokes Every Kid Should Know (Sept.), a jokebook for youngsters with Borgenicht’s byline.
A featured fall title is the first of a fiction trilogy about the end of the world by veteran mashup writer Ben Winters (Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Android Karenina). Winters calls The Last Policeman (July) a “preapocalyptic police procedural”; it’s set in an imagined present when an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth.
Winters will be at the Quirk booth (3848) today, signing ARCs of The Last Policeman at 10 a.m. And Quirk staff—dubbed the Quirk Books Prize Patrol—will be walking the show, giving out prizes to people they spot carrying Quirk’s “What’s Your Next Book?” tote bags—a kickoff for the 10-year anniversary celebration.