Former agent Begbie's debut sold to Clerkenwell Films

Former agent Begbie's debut sold to Clerkenwell Films

TV rights for former agent Hannah Begbie’s debut Mother have been sold to Clerkenwell Films following a four-way auction.

The production company behind popular series such as “Lovesick” and “Misfits” bought the rights to the novel, which is being published by HarperFiction later this year, with “The Crown” screenwriter Tom Edge (Begbie’s husband) attached.

St John Donald of United Agents, brokered the deal with Murray Ferguson, c.e.o. and director of Clerkenwell Films, after a four-way auction. The team plan to pitch the project to a broadcaster shortly.

We're delighted to be adapting Hannah Begbie's gripping debut novel,” Ferguson said. “Mother handles a difficult and important subject matter with great empathy and a thrilling narrative verve. Unflinching and honest, Begbie doesn't shy away from the complexity of human behaviour and in Tom Edge [of “Lovesick”, “The Crown”, “Judy”) we have a screenwriter whose intelligence, sensitivity and skill make him the perfect person to adapt it."

Begbie praised the production company’s “fantastic reputation as producers of bold, high-quality drama” and revealed that she is “excited to see what they come up with”.

She also said that Edge’s experience as her husband, and parent of their son who has cystic fibrosis, “makes him really well placed to deal with the material" as well as Edge being "an exceptionally talented screenwriter".

Martha Ashby, editorial director at HarperFiction, bought the world English rights to Mother, plus one other, in 2017 from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates. Mother will be published in August this year. Last month it was revealed the novel had won The Romantic Novelists' Association's (RNA) Joan Hessayon Award for new writers.

The novel explores the many identities women juggle throughout life and was inspired by Hannah Begbie’s son’s cystic fibrosis. It follows Cath after she discovers her newborn daughter, Mia, has a deadly illness. Cath’s despair takes her to a parental support group where she meets a father in a similar situation, the dangerously attractive Richard who promises a cure for their children. As Cath falls headlong into their affair, she must question her many identities – woman, wife, mother, lover – and which must take precedence.

Begbie was an agent at United Agents, and before that at PFD, where, for 15 years until December 2014, she represented writers and comedians. She developed the manuscript for Mother whilst studying at the Novel Studio course at City University in London and went on to win that year’s new writing prize.