This year marks a big milestone for Rick Riordan Presents. The eponymous imprint from Disney-Hyperion is celebrating its fifth year of publishing diverse, character-driven books that imaginatively integrate stories from world mythologies. Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, among many other beloved books for young readers, spoke with PW about the program’s legacy of exceptional storytelling, exciting new books on the horizon, and his aspirations for the next five years.

Congratulations on five amazing years for the Rick Riordan Presents imprint! Can you reflect on how the program has grown and evolved since its launch?

We’ve gone from two titles in the first season to a total of 30 published so far, 14 of them in series. We’ve published a short story anthology and two graphic novel adaptations, and we’re now moving into the YA category. The imprint has grown and flourished beyond anything I could have imagined when I approached Disney-Hyperion with the idea. The support of the publishing community, educators, librarians, booksellers, and families has been essential to the imprint’s success, and I’m so grateful for everyone who has spread the word about what we’re trying to do.

What has been the most gratifying aspect of the program for you?

I’ve loved launching authors such as Roshani Chokshi, Kwame Mbalia, and Graci Kim and watching them get accolades and TV/movie options. I’ve had the chance to work with authors I’ve admired for a long time, like Yoon Ha Lee, Carlos Hernandez, Sarwat Chadda, and Daniel José Older. I’ve gotten to go on tour with incredibly talented writers like J.C. Cervantes and Rebecca Roanhorse (in pre-pandemic days). The imprint really feels like a supportive family! The most gratifying thing, however, is seeing so many kids from all backgrounds get to connect with books and characters they can relate to, from authors who look like them. That’s a powerful experience and one that enriches the entire reading community.

From your perspective, what makes mythology so captivating, and how can these global stories help inspire and connect us?

Mythology is humanity’s way of understanding our existence. Why are we here? What is important in life? Why do we die, and what happens afterward? To what extent can we influence the forces of the cosmos and leave legacies that are bigger than ourselves? All cultures tackle these issues with traditional stories about gods and heroes and monsters. Reading myths from around the world opens doors into exciting stories we might not have heard yet, but it also reinforces how similar humans are across cultures. We all tend to care about similar things, admire similar traits, and have similar fears. Mythology is fun and entertaining, but it also addresses all the essential questions about being human. That’s why these stories have lasted for so many millennia.

You have some exciting new upcoming titles for 2023. Can you give readers a peek into the world locales, cultures, and mythologies they may encounter?

Oh, so many wonderful books! This year alone, we have:

Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies by Stacey Lee, based on a Chinese folktale; it’s the first of two books.

Last Canto of the Dead by Daniel José Older is the second in the Outlaw Saints series and is based on Santería.

The Last Fallen Realm by Graci Kim is the last book in the Gifted Clans series. It’s based on Korean mythology.

Fury of the Dragon Goddess is based on Mesopotamian myth. It’s the second book in the Sik Aziz Adventure series by Sarwat Chadda.

The Spirit Glass by Roshani Chokshi is a standalone novel based on Filipino mythology.

Serva Boateng’s Guide to Witchcraft and Mayhem, based on Ghanaian mythology, is the second of a three-part series.

Dawn of the Jaguar by J.C. Cervantes is the final book in the Shadow Bruja duology, which is based on Aztec and Maya mythology.

Fox Snare: A Thousand Worlds Novel by Yoon Ha Lee is the last of a trilogy based on Korean folktales and mythology.

That's the most titles we’ve ever published in a single year, and every one is stellar!

What are your hopes and dreams for the imprint’s future?

I’m excited about offering older readers books like A Drop of Venom by Sajni Patel, a new take on the Medusa story with Hindu influence and a theme of female empowerment. We also have a supernatural thriller, It Waits in the Forest by Sarah Dass, that draws from the scariest creatures Caribbean mythology has to offer. Judy Lin is bringing us a propulsive horror story based on Taiwanese and Chinese mythology. Rick Riordan Presents is all grown up! I’m gonna go away and have a good cry now...