Jeff Norton’s London-based Awesome Media & Entertainment company has optioned rights to The Last Wave by Gillian Best.
Awesome will immediately begin developing the novel for television, with Norton and Fraser Robinson, formerly BBC Worldwide and ITV Studios executive, both attached as executive producers.
The novel by Bristol-based Best was published in North America by Canadian publisher by House of Anansi Press and has become a book club favourite, according to an Awesome spokesperson, “establishing its author as a bold new voice in literary fiction”.
The deal marks Awesome’s first literary acquisition since taking investment from global content company Kew Media Group in October last year. With Kew’s backing, Awesome is “ramping up its scripted development of book-based IP” according to a spokesperson.
Awesome previously optioned TV rights in Jay Gunn’s cult-hit graphic novel Surface Tension (Titan Comics) and is co-developing that franchise with Wall to Wall Television, part of Warner Bros UK.
Norton, also an author, said: “Awesome is an author-founded company and we want to be the home for the world’s most creative storytellers. Gillian Best’s novel is heart-breaking yet ultimately heart-warming tale that is at once a feminist story, a novel about a marriage and a narrative about one woman’s self-empowerment and liberation from domestic life.”
The Last Wave is an intergenerational saga that revolves around Martha, a woman who has swum the English Channel 10 times, and the complex relationships she has with her family and friends. The one constant in Martha's life is the sea, which provides an allegorical backdrop to three generations of her family.
Best revealed she was “delighted”. She said: “As an author, I’ve found it incredibly fascinating to hear how my novel has been interpreted by different readers, and I'm excited to see what new perspectives this will bring.”
Last year it was revealed Norton's debut picture book Stomp School (Little Tiger Press) would also be turned into a TV programme by Awesome.