Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize winning novel, The Luminaries (McClelland & Stewart), may soon be coming to television.
According to New Zealand’s Sunday Star-Times, Catton has signed a contract to have her 848-page murder mystery adapted into a mini-series led by British producer Andrew Whitehead (Spooks). The contract was signed before the novel was shortlisted for the Booker in September.
The Canadian-born New Zealand author, who also won the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction, says she wants the filming to take place in Hokitika, the South Island township where the 1860s-era novel is set. Catton is not writing the teleplay, but did put a clause in her contract forbidding any characters from being killed off without her permission.
“Some things I wouldn’t compromise on; it wouldn’t make sense to be filmed anywhere else. I don’t even know if I could put my foot down about that, but if I could, I will,” Catton told the Sydney Morning Herald. “But I don’t mind other things changing a little bit…. I would be very open to changing a lot of the story because what gives you a thrill on the page does not necessarily give you the same feeling on screen.”
The Hokitika Museum has already been helping literary-minded tourists navigate the town according to Catton’s story.
“We show them photographs, so they can see what the town was like at the time,” museum director Julia Bradshaw told the Greymouth Star. “That’s what people want, help with their imagination.”