Chicken House has acquired world publishing rights to a middle grade fantasy, which is also in development for film adaptation with Altitude Films, by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder (Trindles & Read).
The Midnight Hour is a story about an 11-year-old called Emily, who heads into the Midnight Hour, a Victorian London frozen in time, when her parents vanish. It is inhabited by monsters and creatures of the imagination and Emily must embrace her inner magic to save her mum and dad.
Chicken House struck a deal for world rights directly from Read and Trinder and is currently working on publishing a novel, which has a release date of February 2019. Altitude Films, which was the UK distributor of Moonlight, is simultaneously developing a film script. Chicken House will also sell international publishing rights for the book.
Publisher Barry Cunningham (pictured) said: “Chicken House is thrilled to be working with Ben and Laura on this stunningly original middle-grade fantasy – a tale of magic, mystery and determination set in a world unlike any you’ve experienced before.”
The publisher and Altitude first teamed up in 2015 when they worked on Big Game, a novel by Dan Smith that was also turned into a film starring Samuel L Jackson.
At the time Cunningham said it made sense for publishers and production companies to work on project simultaneously. "Instead of waiting for a final book to take into movie production, we will find scripts or treatments together and develop them at the same time. So if someone has a great idea and has written three or four chapters, we can get involved at that stage. Often movie people flag up problems with a book [for turning it into a film] such as a lack of adult perspective. This way we can address those problems straight on.”