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01 July 2023

ILP Featured in
CWA Red Herrings

The below article was featured in the July issue of Red Herrings, the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) membership magazine.

ILP: PROTECTING AND ENHANCING LITERARY LEGACIES

After a 5-year tenure leading the transformation of the Agatha Christie Estate into a success story enjoyed by millions across the globe, Hilary Strong teamed up with like-minded executives in the UK and US to establish ILP in 2019. Here, ILP’s CEO for UK and EMEA, reflects on how the team works with authors and their heirs to protect a life’s work and to ensure that their stories will continue to be enjoyed on page, stage and screen for many years to come.

WHO ARE ILP?

International Literary Properties (ILP) is a global business that invests in the intellectual property rights to books, plays and other literary works. The company was founded by myself and Bob Benton in the UK and Scoff Hoffman, Ted Green and Andrew Minkow in the US. ILP’s London and New York-based teams are experts in the fields of literature, TV, film, and theatre with decades of experience in understanding, managing and re-imagining literary IP. As pro-active owners and co-owners of literary catalogues, we work closely with authors, their families, heirs, agents and publishers to maximise the creative and commercial opportunities of their writing.

TRUSTED STEWARDS OF LITERARY LEGACIES

In 2020, we acquired our first 12 literary estates from the UK literary agency Peters, Fraser + Dunlop, a roll call of 20th Century crime greats: Georges Simenon, Eric Ambler, Margery Allingham, Edmund Crispin, John Creasey, Dennis Wheatley, Robert Bolt, Richard Hull, George Bellairs, Nicolas Freeling, Michael Innes and a minority holding in Evelyn Waugh. Since then, we have carefully built our curated global portfolio with acquisitions across multiple genres, including children’s, non-fiction, and romance. Crime, however, remains at the heart of the portfolio and we are now proud to include Ngaio Marsh in our list.

When we buy or invest in an estate or in the works of a living author, we first try to cultivate a true understanding of the property; to ensure that our work is carried out with appreciation and respect for the author and their books. Our team is dedicated to bespoke and strategic long-term stewardship and is committed to driving global appreciation of our authors’ work, whilst always remaining true to its essence.

CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT TO MAXIMISE OPPORTUNITES

Our exclusive first look deal with BBC Studios and its partner indies gives us direct access to some of the best TV and film producers in the UK, who are already renowned for producing successful global hits. We also work with established producers globally to find the right team to adapt our acquired works for global audiences across TV, film, theatre and podcasts. In three years, we have built a slate of over 20 projects, all at various stages of development and production, including two exciting podcasts that we are creating in-house.

Our development team produces detailed creative bibles after the acquisition of each literary property. First, we read as many of the books as we can. When you own the works of writers like John Creasey (who wrote 600+ books!), it isn’t always possible to read them all but, between us, we give it a good go. The works are then distilled into carefully crafted materials, designed to provide an inspiring springboard into the author’s work and to accelerate the development process for producers. We collaborate with each author, their family or their representatives, to prepare our bibles. As active producers, our team draw on their own industry insights and have the relationships with producers, commissioners and talent needed to get projects set up. Red Herrings readers may remember Richard Creasey’s article in April which quoted the ILP John Creasey bible in helping him to make sense of his father’s unique creative thumbprint.

MULTI-CHANNEL BRAND INVESTMENT

ILP invests in our author brands across multiple channels. In the US, our branding programme for Ed and Rebecca Emberley’s work, Everything Emberley, has resulted in a prestigious merchandising deal with one of America’s premium homeware brands, with a collaboration set to launch in 2023 and a soon-to-be-announced publishing programme expansion.

In the UK, ILP worked with Georgette Heyer’s family, agent, publishers and fans to deliver a fresh, modern visual brand identity and rejuvenated official website. Our publishing team works closely with Heyer’s UK and US publishers on new editions, meticulously supporting the editorial process with both the family and the agent.

Meanwhile, we are thrilled to announce that we are bringing dozens of John Creasey’s wonderful books that are currently out of print to a new generation of readers through a new international digital publishing programme. ILP has partnered with Open Road Media, a global ebook publisher with the mission of bringing great works of literature back to print.

ILP is proud to be a supporter of the CWA and to be sponsoring the 2023 ILP John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.  This award was set up in memory of the celebrated founder of the CWA, John Creasey. The winner will be announced at the Daggers Awards Dinner on 6th July in London, where John Creasey’s son and nephew will be joining us at the ILP table.