Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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‘Sorrow and Bliss’, ‘Jane in Love’, ‘The Geography of Friendship’ acquired for screen

Meg Mason’s novel Sorrow and Bliss has sold into 21 countries since it was published by HarperCollins Australia in 2020, and now Hollywood has come calling. The US production company New Regency has acquired the film and television rights to the novel in a deal brokered by Casarotto Ramsay and HarperCollins Australia. Sorrow and Bliss follows a woman trying to make sense of the mental illness that’s plagued her for decades, ‘combining the psychological insight of Sally Rooney with the sharp humor of Nina Stibbe and the emotional resonance of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’.

Rachel Givney’s debut novel Jane in Love (Michael Joseph)—which follows Jane Austen as she time-travels to the present day and falls in love, only to find that her books begin disappearing—has been optioned for film by DiNovi Pictures for Amazon Studios, in a deal brokered by Jerry Kalajian at IPG and Jeanne Ryckmans at Cameron’s Management. Director Elissa Down said: ‘I knew [Givney’s] clever re-imagining of Jane Austen would make a fantastic movie. I’m thrilled about bringing Jane Austen to the present day and imagining her perspective on modern love.’

Sally Piper’s 2018 novel The Geography of Friendship (UQP)—‘a provocative novel that reads like a Thelma & Louise journey for contemporary times’—will be adapted into a six-part television series after being picked up by two female-led production houses, Dollhouse Pictures and Aquarius Films. The novel follows three young women whose friendship is tested when a hike in the wilderness goes wrong. Years later the three estranged friends reconnect to revisit the original hike.

Several Australian book-to-TV adaptations have also received funding in recent months. These include adaptations of novels The Family Doctor (Debra Oswald, Allen & Unwin), The Rich Man’s House (Andrew McGahan, Allen & Unwin) and Ladies in Black (Madeleine St John, Text), which picks up the story six months after the events of the novel and 2018 film adaptation.

 

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