Hodder & Stoughton has pre-empted Hunting Ghislaine by investigative reporter John Sweeney—a book about the former partner of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, based on the chart-topping podcast of the same name.
Due out in autumn 2021, the book is based on the research for the Global/The Story Lab podcast of the same name. According to the publisher, it was downloaded two million times before the end of January 2021 and spent two weeks at number one on the Apple UK podcast chart.
World rights, including serial and audio, were secured through Humfrey Hunter at Hunter Profiles. Screen rights to the "Hunting Ghislaine" podcast have been picked up by Sony Pictures-backed Eleventh Hour Films, from Global/The Story Lab, to make a drama series.
In Hunting Ghislaine, Sweeney tells the story of Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of disgraced billionaire media tycoon Robert Maxwell and former partner of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. She was arrested by the FBI last year. Maxwell faces trial in the US in relation to Epstein's crimes, but denies six charges: four relate to Epstein’s abuse of under-age girls, and two are charges of perjury.
The title is out in autumn 2021, publishing after the end of Maxwell’s trial, which is due to begin in the US in July. It aims to be the "definitive" book on the subject.
Hodder non-fiction publisher Rupert Lancaster commented: "I’ve long admired John Sweeney’s brave work as an investigative journalist. This will be an important book about the darkest of subjects, which I’m sure will become a classic of the genre."
Sweeney said: "Ghislaine Maxwell’s father was a monster and she is, in turn, accused of being one herself. It’s a dark fairy story the wrong way around, with the princess born in luxury and ending up in jail. Around the world, the critical and public response to the podcast series has been amazing. People are still getting in touch, telling me astonishing stories. I can’t wait to build on it to write the definitive book about Ghislaine. Thanks, once again, to Global, The Story Lab, Chalk & Blade and Hodder & Stoughton for believing in me."