Joan G Robinson’s 1967 classic children’s novel When Marnie Was There has received an international sales boost thanks to the Japanese animation version, as agent Caroline Sheldon has sold the rights to 10 countries.
The novel is about a girl called Anna who, when sent to stay with family friends in Norfolk, befriends a mysterious girl called Marnie.
Caroline Sheldon of the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency sold the film rights to Studio Ghibli in spring 2012 and the animated version will be on general release on 10th June this year.
“The novel is a wonderful classic and at the time of Ghibli buying the rights I thought how wonderful the Japanese sensibility was that they knew and treasured a novel by an English novelist that was relatively uncelebrated over here,” she told The Bookseller.
Interest has surged in the book since the announcement of the film adaptation and Sheldon has sold the translation rights in 10 territories, including Japan, Italy, Spain and China. HarperCollins Children’s Books has also re-released the book as part of its classics range.
The film version of When Marie Was There was shortlisted for an Oscar in Best Animated Feature Film category and is rumoured to be Studio Ghibli’s final production. Two years ago producer Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement, as did his co-founder Isao Takahata six months later.
The Telegraph said the film has a “tender, whisper-delicate charm” that will “have you sobbing into your sleeve”.