We are delighted to announce that Penguin UK has acquired Ania Poranek’s debut, Where the Dark Stands Still in a six-figure deal. Carmen McCullough, Editorial Director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Catherine Cho at Paper Literary, on behalf of Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman. The deal was struck in collaboration with Karen Wojtyla, VP and Editorial Director at Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, who bought North American rights. Both editions will publish simultaneously in Spring 2024.

Where the Dark Stands Still is a beautifully written and evocative reimagining of Beauty and the Beast which weaves dark fantasy and gothic romance infused with polish folklore. This epic romantic story is perfect for fans of Adalyn Grace’s Belladonna, The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden and Gallant by V.E Schwab.

Raised in a small village near the spirit-wood, Liska Radost knows that Magic is monstrous, and its practitioners, monsters. After Liska unleashes her own powers with devastating consequences, she is caught by the demon warden of the wood – the Leszy – who offers her a bargain: one year of servitude in exchange for a wish.

Whisked away to his crumbling manor, Liska soon discovers the sinister roots of their bargain. And if she wants to survive the year and return home, she must unravel her host’s spool of secrets and face the ghosts of his past.

Those who enter the wood do not always return . . .

Ania Poranek says: “I am so excited to be able to share this story with the world and to work with Carmen McCullough, Karen Wojtyla and the teams at Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. As a Polish girl who grew up in Canada, the stories of Polish folklore were something I knew from childhood memories of my grandparents’ bedtime stories. Writing this book allowed me to delve so much deeper into my culture and being able to share that with new readers is a dream come true.”

Carmen McCullough, Editorial Director, says: “I could talk endlessly about this unique and powerful story that instantly captivated the whole team. I fell in love with Ania’s writing from the very first page – from the moment Liska stepped into the woods to begin her strange magical journey. I was fascinated to learn about polish folklore, enthralled by the magic and completely swept up in the most breathtaking love story. This is a truly special book and Ania is an incredible new YA talent that we can’t wait to launch next year.”