About John van de Ruit
John van de Ruit is an actor, playwright and author who was educated at Michaelhouse and received a Masters degree in Drama and Performance studies from the University of KwaZulu – Natal. His debut novel, Spud, is a publishing phenomenon in South Africa, smashing all local fiction records. Following Spud’s release in September 2005, the sequel Spud – The Madness Continues… (2007) received rave reviews and both books have since been published around the globe. The penultimate book in the side-splitting series, Spud – Learning to Fly, was released in June 2009. The Spud series has sold over half a million copies in South Africa alone. A feature film of John’s first novel, Spud, was released in Southern Africa in December 2010 starring John Cleese and Troye Sivan. The film debuted at number one at the South African box office and is being distributed internationally. A film of Spud – the Madness Continues… is due for release in 2013.
• Spud has broken all sales records for a debut novel in South Africa. The average
work of adult fiction is regarded as a bestseller in the local market if it sells in excess
of 5 000 copies.
• To date Penguin South Africa has invoiced out over 220 000 copies of Spud in the
South African market alone, over 140 000 copies of Spud - The Madness Continues …
and over 120 000 copies of Spud – Learning to Fly.
• The Spud series of novels continues to sell an average of 2 000 copies a month,
almost seven years since the first book was published in 2005.
• We estimate that most copies of Spud are read by at least 3 people, which would
take the readership to over 1.5 million people!
• Spud – Learning to Fly was released in June 2009, with 77 000 copies invoiced in the
first 2 months of publication.
• The launch of Spud – Learning to Fly broke the record for the biggest local book
launch in South Africa, with over 1 300 people attending the event.
• In addition to the first three Spud titles, Penguin produced Spud as their first local
audio book in 2007 in a 10-CDs boxed set, followed by an mp3 version in 2011. The
book was read by its author, John van de Ruit.
• We produced a Spud Journal to allow young budding authors to record their own
• A limited edition boxed set containing the first 3 Spud titles in a slipcase was
produced in 2010.
• The official Spud website is www.spudbooks.co.za.
• Spud the Official FaceBook page has already received 19 160 likes. Please click on
the following link to view the page (www.facebook.com/officialspudbooks).
• John van de Ruit is on Twitter. You can follow him at @johnvanderuit.
• Spud was published in the US and Canada by Penguin, under their young adult
imprint Razorbill in October 2007. In January 2009, they had invoiced out 20 000
copies of the hardcover edition and 13 000 copies of the paperback edition.
• Penguin US bought the rights to Spud - The Madness Continues … and have sold
11 000 copies of it to date in hardcover. The paperback edition was published in
• Penguin UK published Spud under their children’s imprint Puffin in May 2008, for
distribution in the UK and Commonwealth markets. They sold over 8 000 copies, and
1 300 copies in Australia. Visit www.spinebreakers.co.uk for reviews and updates on
how Spud was received in the UK.
• Penguin UK also bought the rights to Spud – The Madness Continues … and published
it in June 2009. Spud – Learning to Fly was published in June 2011.
• Foreign language rights for Spud were sold to Rizzoli Oltre in Italy – published as
Patata; to Editora Intrínsica in Brazil, and to Ripol Classic Publishers for translation
Spud – Exit, Pursued by a Bear is now on sale.