Finally, finally, FINALLY I get to share the fantastic, huge news that Maresi has been optioned for a movie! My super agent Elina Ahlbäck and her team has been working on this deal for a long time, and it's been a struggle to keep it quiet. But today I get to share it with the world!
Here's the agency's press release, in full:
Feature film rights to Maria Turtschaninoff’s internationally acclaimed fantasy novel Maresi have been optioned by Film4.
UK-based Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, including Academy Award-winners such as 12 Years a Slave and Slumdog Millionaire. The deal was brokered by Turtschaninoff’s agent Elina Ahlbäck of the eponymous Elina Ahlback Literary Agency in collaboration with Gudrun Giddings.
“I cannot say that this is a dream come true for me - it exceeds all my dreams. I am so happy that Maresi is in such good hands with Film4,” says Turtschaninoff. Quoting Turtschaninoff’s agent Elina Ahlbäck, “Finlandia award-winner Maria Turtschaninoff’s feminist fantasy saga will empower girls and women all over the world.”
Maresi, the first book in The Red Abbey Chronicles, was originally published in Finland in 2014 by Schildts & Söderströms, and awarded the prestigious Finlandia Junior Prize in the same year.
Publishing rights to the novel have sold in 17 territories to date, to excellent press and reviews internationally. In the UK, Pushkin Press published Maresi in January 2016 and Abrams will release the U.S. edition in January 2017.
Maresi is a tale of friendship and survival, set in the Red Abbey, a refuge for women and girls. When the abbey is attacked, the titular character Maresi has to fight to defend both herself and the community. The novel is a historically inspired fantasy saga, aimed for young adult and adult audiences, about friendship and community of women in a male-dominated world. According to The Observer, Maresi “combines a flavor of The Handmaid’s Tale with bursts of excitement reminiscent of Harry Potter’s magic duels”.
“From the first time we read it my colleagues and I were swept away by Maresi and the world Maria has created. It's one of those special fantasy novels which resonates on so many levels and is both a page-turner and an accomplished work of literature that speaks particularly to our times,” says Adam Freudenheim, Publisher at Pushkin Press.
Susan Van Metre of Abrams says “It takes an author of the caliber of fantasy greats like Le Guin and Pullman to create a world as beautifully and terrifyingly real as the one Maria has conceived inthe Red Abbey Chronicles. We want to live in it—and save it alongside our sister Maresi.”
Maria Turtschaninoff is known for crafting lyrical, historically inspired fantasy stories starring strong female protagonists. She is a two-time winner of the Society of Swedish Literature Prize, a nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal and winner of the 2014 Finlandia Junior Prize.