A two-book deal for B.J. Novak was announced this week: He'll publish a book for children this fall, "A Book With No Pictures," and follow it up with another to be announced. Both are coming from Penguin Young Readers Group.
The news comes just weeks before the publication of his first short fiction collection, "One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories." That book is being published by no less than Knopf, publisher of Nobel Prize winners Toni Morrison and Alice Munro.
And he's not even a writer. Well, he is a writer, clearly, but so far he's best known as an actor, from "Inglourious Basterds" and "The Mindy Project" as well as "The Office," for which he was a writer and a producer. He also appears in "Saving Mr. Banks" and the upcoming "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
While other comedy writers have had success with books of humorous essays -- Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling both reached bestseller lists -- Novak has chosen fiction.
“It’s a really great form -- fiction with a sense of humor,” Novak told Entertainment Weekly, which has an excerpt from "One More Thing." “It’s what I love to read, and it’s what I wanted to write.”
His children's book is a deliberate inversion: "The Book With No Pictures" is a picture book with no pictures at all.
"I wanted to write a book that would introduce the youngest of kids to the idea that words can be their allies -- that the right words can be as fun, exciting and ridiculous as any pictures," Novak said in a release. "Also, I can't draw."
His grown-up book deal is also for two books, so "One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories" is slated to be followed by another work of fiction.
Novak is actually prepared for a literary career: He attended Harvard, where he majored in English and Spanish literature and worked on the legendary Harvard Lampoon.