Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Donovan appointed literary scout for Hollywood producer

Los Angeles-based Australian Philippa Donovan has been appointed literary scout for Mad Rabbit, a production company for high-end drama.

Donovan, who will cover World English Language territories, told Books+Publishing that ‘the whole operation is pretty international’, with Mad Rabbit run between Toronto and LA, and as a joint venture with a large global distributor. ‘Hence they really wanted a scout that knew the UK and Commonwealth,’ said Donovan.

Donovan said there are ‘quite a few producers’ in LA who are ‘super keen on Australian books’, including Bruna Papandrea, who is executive producer of HBO’s adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies.

‘Australian fiction and nonfiction greatly appeals to Hollywood, maybe because it treads that familiarity/unfamiliarity line so well,’ said Donovan. ‘Our language is the same, but our landscape very different …  so there is a real sense of graduated adaptation, i.e. as a producer you can retain as much of the unfamiliarity as you want without compromising the core of the story. And that’s not necessarily true for other markets.’

Donovan said Australian authors ‘are in a really compelling position in terms of film and TV right now’. ‘And with all the digital streaming via Netflix and Hulu and HBO, there is insatiable demand for original and complete properties,’ said Donovan.

Donovan established her consultancy Smart Quill in 2011, and has worked as an editor for around 300 authors and recommends to a stable of 50 literary agents in the UK, US and Australia. She also has a YouTube channel where she reviews books.

Mad Rabbit is a joint venture between director and show runner Kari Skogland and distribution group Red Arrow Entertainment, with development led by Elsie Choi. For more information, click here.


Category: Local news