Journalist Matt Cain’s novel, one of the fastest-funded in Unbound’s history, has won a six-figure film deal.
The publication date of the former Attitude editor’s The Madonna of Bolton had already been pushed forward by Unbound to 12th July after receiving a rush of support from crowdfunders last autumn, including many high profile authors, after initially being rejected by mainstream publishers.
Now the film arm of Live Nation, which also represents Madonna, has bought the film rights to the work with the options for sequels and a stage musical in a six figure dea, which comes with the pop icon’s “blessing”, Cain told The Bookseller. The deal with Live Nation Productions, which is based in Los Angeles and focuses on "groundbreaking, musically-driven stories", also comes with permission to use the pop icon's music.
Cain's third novel was picked up by Unbound last year after being declined more than 30 times by traditional publishers. Authors including David Walliams, David Nicholls and S J Watson were among those to pledge money to crowdfund the work and it reached its goal in just seven days, becoming one of the fastest-funded books on the platform.
It follows Charlie Matthews, growing up in Bolton, whose obsession with Madonna sees him through some tough times. The buzz around its crowdfunding success led to Unbound bringing the publication date forward, from spring 2019 to 12th July this year, in time for Madonna's 60th birthday on 16th August.
Cain said: “Madonna’s music helped me through some tough times growing up and inspired me to explore that special connection so many of us can feel with our favourite music in my novel The Madonna of Bolton. I’m overjoyed now that a film is being made of my book and it means the world to me that I have Madonna’s blessing for the project. My 11-year-old self would be very proud - although I’m not sure he’d be able to believe it.”
In April last year, while editor for Attitude magazine, Cain described his disappointment over the homophobia he has experienced in the publishing industry, in a blog for The Bookseller.
“When I’ve pitched gay-themed fiction to mainstream publishers, I’ve been told either that the idea isn’t commercial enough or that there’s no market for it, responses many other gay writers have told me they’ve also experienced,” he wrote. “I have no problem with any of us being rejected because our work isn’t good enough, but I do object when we’re told that a market for our work doesn’t exist. Because, as editor-in-chief of Attitude, I know better.”