Originally created 01/22/06

Sequel to 'Peter Pan' classic to be published this year



LONDON - Geraldine McCaughrean's sequel to the "Peter Pan" classic will be published this fall, but the only information available about it now is its title - "Peter Pan in Scarlet."

The book by the award-winning children's author promises readers "high adventure, dramatic tensions and all the swashbuckling, danger and derring-do they can handle."

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children owns the copyright to the original J.M. Barrie story about the boy who never grew up.

After a worldwide search for an author, the hospital trustees chose McCaughrean to write the sequel. The trust stipulated that the book must feature the original characters: Peter, Wendy, Tinkerbell, the rest of the Darling family and the fearsome Captain Hook.

The trustees have read and approved McCaughrean's recently finished manuscript and it will be published on Oct. 5.

"Neverland was such a marvelous place to spend my year," McCaughrean said. "I clean forgot Barrie's ghost might be reading the computer screen over my shoulder, forgot to worry whether the necessary people would like what I wrote. Mind you, that's a good sign. When a book is a joy to write, some of the fun often snags on the letters and gets trapped between the pages."

When Barrie died in 1937, he left the copyright and other intellectual property rights of "Peter Pan" to Great Ormond Street. The agreement runs out in 2007, and with it the royalty checks that have poured in for decades.

The royalties for the new book will be split between McCaughrean and the hospital.

"The gift of Peter Pan was the most generous present J.M. Barrie could possibly have given to the hospital, a cause close to his heart," Jane Collins, chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital, said.

"We are delighted that Geraldine's book has captured the essence of his timeless creation and that she has produced a work that will take its place as a much-loved book, alongside the original 'Peter Pan.'"