Press release

Puffin and The Roald Dahl Story Company to bring WONKA movie to the page with bestselling children’s author Sibéal Pounder’s movie tie-in novelisation.

Puffin in partnership with The Roald Dahl Story Company is excited to announce the publication of WONKA, a movie-tie in novelisation written by bestselling children’s author Sibéal Pounder and based on the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures movie WONKA, created by Paul King (writer/director of the Paddington films) and written for film by Simon Farnaby & Paul King.  WONKA is based on the extraordinary character at the centre of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of the bestselling children’s books of all time. Puffin will publish WONKA on 15th December 2023 alongside the movie’s UK cinema release.

WONKA tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker becomes the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.

Puffin Publishing Director Ruth Knowles said: ‘As the bestselling author of Bad Mermaids and Witch Wars series, Sibéal Pounder is an expert in crafting stories for young readers full of irreverent humour, charismatic characters and magic – things, of course, that also make Roald Dahl’s stories so special. Sibéal is the perfect voice to bring the story of the WONKA movie to the page and we’re excited that families and young people will have the chance to enjoy the magic of WONKA on screen and as a book this winter’.

Sibéal Pounder said: ‘I was thrilled to be asked to adapt WONKA. I hugely admire everything Paul King and Simon Farnaby create, so to have the opportunity to work with their origin story and screenplay of the great chocolatier was a true delight. Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was such a pivotal text when I was growing up and that chocolate river is as vivid in my mind as any real life childhood memories. It’s been such a special project to work on, the script is as magical and hilarious (and delicious) as the story that inspired it, and it has been so much fun adapting it for kids to devour in book form.’

Harriet Murphy, Head of Books at The Roald Dahl Story Company comments: ‘Both the movie and its novelisation capture the unique spirit of Dahl’s original stories and characters – thanks to the brilliance of Paul King’s original story and Sibéal Pounder’s skilful adaptation from screen to page. Wonka has been one of the most loved characters in children’s books for many years and has captured the imagination of so many, both young and old, and this new prequel story is an exciting way to give Wonka fans some more of his magic.’

Notes to Editors

About the Book

Based on the major motion picture—an intoxicating mix of magic and music, mayhem and emotion, all told with fabulous heart and humour—WONKA introduces readers to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time… proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

About the Author

Sibéal Pounder is the author of the bestselling Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series of books, Neon’s Secret Universe, and Christmas tale Tinsel. Her debut, Witch Wars, was shortlisted for the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. The Bad Mermaids series was a World Book Day title and a Sunday Times Bestseller. Before becoming a full time author, Sibéal worked for the Financial Times.  

About the WONKA movie

From Paul King, writer/director of the “Paddington” films, David Heyman, producer of “Harry Potter,” “Gravity,” “Fantastic Beasts” and “Paddington,” and producers Alexandra Derbyshire (the “Paddington” films, “Jurassic World: Dominion”) and Luke Kelly (“Roald Dahl’s The Witches”), comes this irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle starring Timothée Chalamet in the title role.

Starring alongside Chalamet are Calah Lane (“The Day Shall Come”), Emmy and Peabody Award winner Keegan-Michael Key (“The Prom,” “Schmigadoon”), Paterson Joseph (“Vigil,” “Noughts + Crosses”), Matt Lucas (“Paddington,” “Little Britain”), Mathew Baynton (“The Wrong Mans,” “Ghosts”), Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water,” the “Paddington” films, “Spencer”), Rowan Atkinson (the “Johnny English” and “Mr. Bean” films, “Love Actually”), Jim Carter (“Downton Abbey”), with Oscar winner Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”).  The film also stars Natasha Rothwell (“White Lotus,” “Insecure”), Rich Fulcher (“Marriage Story,” “Disenchantment”), Rakhee Thakrar (“Sex Education,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral”), Tom Davis (“Paddington 2,” “King Gary”) and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (“Paddington 2,” “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” “Mary Poppins Returns”).

Simon Farnaby (“Paddington 2”) & Paul King wrote the screenplay, based on a story by King and characters created by Roald Dahl.  Michael Siegel, Cate Adams, Rosie Alison and Tim Wellspring are serving as executive producers.      

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents, in Association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Heyday Films Production, a Paul King Confection, “Wonka,” set to open in theatres and in IMAX internationally beginning in December 2023 and in North America on December 15, 2023; it will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

About Paul King

Paul King is a BAFTA-nominated writer/director who works in both film and television.  His most recent feature, “Wonka,” is an original prequel to the beloved Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Timothée Chalamet in the title role, and will debut in theaters worldwide in December.

In 2009, King wrote and directed his first feature film, “Bunny and the Bull,” starring Simon Farnaby and Edward Hogg.  He then directed David Walliams and Matt Lucas’ mockumentary “Come Fly With Me,” which earned nominations for a number of awards, including a BAFTAfor Best Comedy and a British Comedy Award for Best Sketch Show.  King directed all three series of “The Mighty Boosh,” earning him a BAFTA nomination for Best Director in 2004.  The BBC comedy aired in the U.S. on Adult Swim.  His most recent work for the small screen includes directing and executive producing episodes of the 2020 Netflix series “Space Force,” starring Steve Carrell.

King then went onto co-write and direct “Paddington” in 2014 for Heyday Films and STUDIOCANAL, a film which received both critical and commercial success worldwide, including BAFTA nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best British Film.  King next co-wrote and directed “Paddington 2,” released by Warner Bros. Pictures in 2017 to great critical acclaim.  The beloved sequel also received multiple BAFTA nominations, as well as a coveted 99% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes.

About Simon Farnaby

Simon Farnaby is an actor and writer whose starring film credits include “Burke and Hare” (John Landis, 2010); “Your Highness” (David Gordon Green, 2011); “Bill” (Richard Bracewell, 2015), for BBC Films, loosely based on the early life of William Shakespeare; and “Bunny and the Bull” (Paul King, 2009), for Film 4. He also appeared in writer/director King’s critically acclaimed, BAFTA-nominated hit “Paddington,” and reprised his role for the equally acclaimed sequel, “Paddington 2,” which he co-wrote with King, receiving two BAFTA nominations himself.  His work will next be seen on the big screen in December in King’s “Wonka,” an original prequel to the beloved Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which Farnaby again co-scripted with the director, and also plays an on-screen role.

Most recently, Farnaby’s work could be seen on the big screen in Craig Roberts’ 2021 comedy “The Phantom of the Open,” co-written by Farnaby, based on his own book, which stars Mark Rylance as Maurice Flitcroft, the worst golfer in the world.  He also appeared in Marc Forster’s “Christopher Robin” in 2018; “Rogue One” for director Gareth Edwards, in 2016; and in the same year, “Mindhorn,” for director Sean Foley, in which he starred as Clive and co-wrote alongside longtime collaborator Julian Barratt.

His TV credits include “The Mighty Boosh,” as a coremember of the supporting cast, the BAFTA-winning “Detectorists,” the quadruple BAFTA and double Comedy Award-winning “Horrible Histories,” “Jam and Jerusalem” and“The Midnight Beast.”

Along with the five other principal members of the cast of“Horrible Histories,” Farnaby is also the co-creator, writer andstar of “Yonderland,” an eight-part family fantasy comedy series that premiered on Sky One in 2013.

Also in 2013, Farnaby presented a documentary entitled “Richard III: The King in the Car Park,” tracing the discovery and identification of the remains of the last Plantagenet king. The program won a Royal Television Society (RTS) award for best documentary and was nominated for a BAFTA.

About Roald Dahl and The Roald Dahl Story Company

Roald Dahl is one of the world’s best and most original storytellers with over 300 million books sold, translated into 68 languages. Deeply funny and deliciously dark, his timeless stories are beloved by kids and adults alike and have introduced generations of kids to the joys of reading and the imagination.

The Roald Dahl Story Company is the home of Roald Dahl’s stories and characters. Our mission is to maintain Dahl’s unique spirit of playful subversion, humour and full-hearted hope in everything we do.  We want to share the positive messages at the heart of all Roald Dahl stories with future generations, including the potential of young people, the power of kindness and the limitless possibilities of imagination.

Together with Netflix, our parent company, we’re working with some of the world’s best storytellers and creative minds to tell the stories in new and exciting ways across animated and live action films and TV, publishing, live theatre, immersive experiences, games, consumer products and more.

About Puffin

Puffin is the biggest children’s publisher globally, and is a loud, proud voice for the power of stories to spark imaginations.

Since publishing a series of non-fiction in 1940, Puffin has grown to become one of the world’s most iconic children’s entertainment brands. Publishing stories for children from 0-12, Puffin is home to famous authors, illustrators and children’s brands, including Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola, Tom Fletcher, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Snowman and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Many of these stories live beyond the book and have inspired TV, films, music and games.

Puffin is always on the look-out for new talent and is committed to giving children access to stories, through innovative formats and partnerships; ensuring that the magic of imagination passes from one generation to the next.

Puffin is an imprint of Penguin Random House, the world’s number onepublisher representing a vibrant community of publishing houses marked by unparalleled success.

Puffin: Stories to Spark Imaginations

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For more information contact: Puffin Publicity Rosamund Hutchison