HBO to dramatise Backman’s Beartown as MJ signs two new books

HBO to dramatise Backman’s Beartown as MJ signs two new books

HBO Europe will make a brand new drama based on Fredrik Backman’s novel Beartown, as Michael Joseph plans to publish two new books by the Swedish author. 

The drama will be directed by award-winning filmmaker Peter Grönlund and produced by the team behind "The Bridge". It comes as a US adaption of his bestselling A Man Called Ove (previously published in the UK by Sceptre) is currently in production, starring Tom Hanks.

Backman’s UK publisher MJ has acquired two new titles by the author – a collection of non-fiction called Things My Son Needs to Know About the World, a book of letters written by Backman to his son “about one of life’s most daunting but rewarding experiences: parenthood”, and a new novel called Anxious People

Anxious People is described as “a riotous comedy” about a hostage situation at a Swedish apartment viewing.  The publisher said: “A bank robber on the run locks himself in with an over-enthusiastic estate agents, two bitter IKEA addicts, a pregnant woman, a suicidal multi-millionaire and a rabbit.”

Jessica Leeke, fiction publisher at MJ has bought exclusive UK and Commonwealth rights and non-exclusive for the rest of the world, including Europe (excluding US and Canada) in both titles from Tor Jonasson at Salomonsson Agency.

Leeke said: “Backman is a master storyteller. Funny, tender and wise he writes about ordinary people displaying every day acts of extraordinary courage and will make you laugh as he breaks your heart.”

MJ will publish Things My Son Needs to Know About the World on 6th June 2019 and Anxious People in spring 2020.

According to Nielsen BookScan, A Man Called Ove has sold 141,524 copies across all editions while Beartown has sold 7,338 copies in paperback since May 2018.