ECPA's Rush To Press

Finding Gobi To Be Published through HarperCollins Global Publishing Program
Book to be released in 2017 in English, Spanish, Japanese and Dutch
The true story of a man, a stray dog,
and their unlikely journey through the Gobi desert 

(Nashville, Tenn.) October 11, 2016–W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, and Harper Non-Fiction of HarperCollins UK announced today they have signed world rights for Finding Gobi, a memoir based on an international news-story sensation about Dion Leonard, ultra marathoner who befriends a stray dog in China’s harsh Gobi Desert.

A simultaneous release is scheduled for June 2017 in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. In addition, it will be published as part of HarperCollins Global Publishing Program in Holland, Japan, and in Spanish in the U.S., LATAM and Spain. The deal was negotiated by Matt Baugher, senior vice president and publisher at W Publishing group, and literary agent Paul de Souza of Paul de Souza Productions.  Together, they will lead the global publishing launch.

Finding Gobi is the story of Dion Leonard, a seasoned ultra marathon runner who crosses paths with a scrappy, stray dog while competing in a 150 mile race through the Gobi Desert.  The young dog, who would later earned the name “Gobi”, proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, as she went step for step with Dion over the Tian Shan Mountains, across massive sand dunes, through yurt villages and the black sands of the Gobi Desert, keeping pace with him for nearly 80 miles.  As Dion witnessed the incredible determination and heart of this small animal, he found his own heart undergoing a change as well.  Whereas in the past these races were all about competing and being the best, his goal now was to make sure he and Gobi’s friendship continued well after the finish line. Before he could take her home, Gobi went missing in the sprawling Chinese city where she was being kept, but Dion, with the help of strangers and a viral outpouring of assistance on the internet, tracked her down, reuniting forever with the amazing animal that changed his life and proved to him and the world that miracles are possible.

The story of Gobi and Dion became a viral internet sensation, when the BBC video link was viewed more than 11 million times. Agent Paul De Souza was so taken by the story that he tracked down Dion in China.  “I was so intrigued by this miraculous story of a dog who befriended a runner for 78 miles in the Gobi Desert and I knew there had to be much more to the story,” commented De Souza.

Matt Baugher comments, “Nothing excites me more as a publisher than finding incredible stories like this one from Dion and Gobi.  I’m thrilled to be able to present their adventure in this book.  Dion is a joy to work with and Gobi herself has her own story to tell. We are honored to be the publishing partner on this journey.”

“Like A Streetcat Named Bob, the story of Dion and Gobi is ultimately one of happiness and, of course, hope.  We are looking forward enormously to publishing this book in the UK,” said publishing strategy director, Oliver Malcolm at HarperCollins UK.

About Thomas Nelson: Thomas Nelson is a world leading publisher and provider of Christian content and has been providing readers with quality inspirational product for more than 200 years. As part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the publishing group provides multiple formats of award-winning Bibles, books, gift books, cookbooks, curriculum and digital content, with distribution of its products in more than 100 countries. Thomas Nelson, is headquartered in Nashville, TN. For additional information visit