Claire Robertson’s 2014 Sunday Times Fiction Prize winner to be made into a film.
film-maker Erica Brumage has optioned film rights in the sweeping, gloriously
told literary historical novel THE SPIRAL HOUSE by Claire Robertson.
van der Caab, freed slave and wigmaker’s apprentice, travels with her eccentric
employer from Cape Town to Vogelzang, a remote farm where a hairless girl needs
their services. The year is 1794, it is the age of enlightenment, and on
Vogelzang the master is conducting strange experiments in human breeding and
classification. It is also here that Trijn falls in love.
Brumage says of the book, ‘Claire’s writing is so evocative and her
characters so authentic that one can clearly see them inhabiting their era,
hear the vivid cadences of their voices and smell and feel the dirt and sweat
of their lives… The Spiral House has an originality and vision that demands
On her vision for the adaptation, Brumage says, ‘Claire’s highly
original imagining of the origins of race classification which were to become
apartheid in the twentieth century is beautifully constructed as it unfolds
through the layers of interweaving love stories with richly rounded characters
that are human, fallible, sometimes horrific and entirely fascinating. The
tensions between them crackle with energy and dramatic promise, and the ebb and
flow of the narrative trajectories of the different character pairings create
richly dynamic threads against the backgrounds of the social hierarchies and
science of the age. I’m really excited by the performance potential that
exists for the cast of actors that we find for these roles.’
THE SPIRAL HOUSE, won the
2014Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize and a South
African Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg
Debut Prize. Robertson has two other novels, THE MAGISTRATE OF GOWER, shortlisted
for the 2016Sunday Times Fiction Prize, and UNDER GLASS
currently long-listed for the 2019 Sunday Times Fiction Prize.
All three books are
published by Umuzi, the literary imprint of Penguin Random House.
The acquisition was
negotiated by the Lennon-Ritchie Agency.