Universal buys film rights to Anderson's 'unbearably tense' début

Universal buys film rights to Anderson's 'unbearably tense' début

Universal Pictures has snapped up film rights for City of Saints & Thieves (Rock the Boat), the "unbearably tense" debut YA novel from Natalie C Anderson.

Melina Matsoukas, executive producer and director of HBO series "Insecure", has been confirmed to direct, while Will Packer Productions and Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street Production Company are in negotiations to produce alongside James Lopez, Packer’s head of motion pictures. 

City of Saints & Thieves is an "unbearably tense" thriller that has earned comparisons with The Hunger Games series and The Thief Lord, but the "compelling characters and richly drawn setting of Kenya make this story stand out as a brilliantly accomplished work in its own right", said the publisher. In the shadows of Sangui City, street-thief Tina patiently plots her revenge on those she believes shot her mother. When an opportunity presents itself, she takes it with both hands. But things do not go quite as planned. And her desire to finally uncover the truth about why her mother was killed will place her in mortal danger.

The book was published by Oneworld’s Rock the Boat imprint in July.

Shadi Doostdar, editor at Oneworld said: "It’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl and I can’t wait to see it brought to life on the big screen! Natalie has written a real page-turner with a unique and feisty protagonist in Tina, that is unafraid to explore gritty themes that draw on her work in Africa."

Anderson is a writer and international development professional living in Geneva, Switzerland. The novel was inspired by her time in Kenya where she worked for an NGO, interviewing refugees who were under consideration for resettlement.