Invisible Boys to be seen on screen

16/09/2020 - 11:00

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Western Australian writer Holden Sheppard’s debut novel, Invisible Boys, could make it to the big screen, after director Nicholas Verso and producer Tania Chambers optioned the film and television rights last month.

Invisible Boys to be seen on screen
Holden Sheppard says optioning the rights to his novel was a dream come true.

Western Australian writer Holden Sheppard’s debut novel, Invisible Boys, could make it to the big screen, after director Nicholas Verso and producer Tania Chambers optioned the film and television rights last month.

The young adult novel, published by Fremantle Press, follows three gay men growing up in Geraldton, which is Mr Sheppard’s home town.

The Perth writer said optioning the rights to his novel was a dream come true.

“We actually had a range of parties interested in taking on this story, which was a very fortunate position to be in,” Mr Sheppard said.

“I’ve had these characters living in my head for years now, so seeing them come to life on the screen is going to be totally rad.”

Optioning the rights means the pair has acquired the exclusive rights to purchase the content of the movie or television show.

A Melbourne-based director, Mr Verso has worked on productions including the BAFTA and Emmy award-winning series Nowhere Boys, feature film Boys in Trees which was subsequently sold to Netflix and Stan, and television series Grace Beside Me, for which he won an Australian Directors’ Guild award.

Ms Chambers is the producer and managing director at Feisty Dame Productions and was previously the chief executive of Screen NSW and Screenwest. She produced the feature film Kill Me Three Times, and the television series Itch, which was recently sold to the BBC.

Invisible Boys is already an award-winning book; receiving the 2019 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award, the 2019 Kathleen Mitchell Award, and the recently-announced Western Australian Premier’s Award for an Emerging Writer, winning $15,000.

Other winners of the Premier’s Book Awards include Amanda Curtin, who was the recipient of the Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship and $60,000, and Meg McKinlay, who was awarded the $15,000 Premier’s Prize for Writing for Children for Catch a Falling Star.

Mr Sheppard said he thought winning the Hungerford Award played a huge role in the success of the novel.

“The Hungerford’s effect on a book is like plugging an electric guitar into an amp: you play the same notes, but it’s louder and gets heard by more people,” he said.

“Having a debut novel that is already an award winner upon release makes industry people and readers sit up and take notice, so it’s been a boon and I am very grateful for what winning this award has done for my career.”

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