Barker's Iliad retelling optioned for film

Barker's Iliad retelling optioned for film

Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls (Hamish Hamilton), has been taken up as an “ambitious” film project by the BBC and Element Pictures.

The retelling of Homer's Iliad has been optioned by BBC Films and Irish-based production company Element Pictures, which produced “Room” and “The Favourite”. Film rights were bought by Element's director Ed Guiney from Lesley Thorne, m.d. at Aitken Alexander Associates.

The Silence of the Girls is told from the perspective of Briseis from the Iliad, the captured queen who becomes the possession of first Achilles and then Agamemnon, in the 10 weeks leading up to the death of Achilles which precedes the Fall of Troy. It was acquired by Hamish Hamilton publishing director Simon Prosser from Clare Alexander, of Aitken Alexander Associates, and went on to be The Bookseller’s Book of the Month for August as well as making in the Costa Book Award shortlist last month.

Thorne said of the deal with Element and the BBC: "They have ambitious plans for it and Pat, Clare [Alexander] and I are delighted.” 

Barker has sold 756,634 books in total for just over £6m according to Nielsen BookScan, and the hardback of The Silence of the Girls has so far sold 19,194 copies.