Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Friday, April 01, 2016
Zirk van den Berg’s novel of forbidden love in the Boer War optioned for film by New Zealand company
by Penguin Books on Mar 31st,
rights to Zirk van den Berg’s period novel Half of
One Thing have been optioned by independent producer Neil
Sonnekus of New Zealand production company Stinkwood Films.
The deal was negotiated by
Aoife Lennon-Ritchie of the Lennon-Ritchie Agency.
“It’s a wonderful read,”
Sonnekus said of the book. “I fell for the ‘historical record’ hook, line and
sinker. It’s a great, great con. The characters become representative of real
historical forces, and I like that – the con has the solid ring of truth about
Gideon Lancaster, a New Zealand
soldier fighting for the British, infiltrates a Boer commando. He soon finds
himself entangled in a confusion of loyalties as he becomes better acquainted
with the men.
Worse, he falls in love with
Esther Calitz, a Boer woman of considerable mettle who demands his loyalty over
every other allegiance. Commandant Jacob Eksteen is Lancaster’s taciturn rival
in love, and a man of clear black-and-white convictions. So powerful are the
conflicting demands of fidelity and love that Lancaster seizes a startling
opportunity when a large British battalion is mobilised in what is to be the
final triumph of the imperial forces.
Van den Berg made his literary
debut with a volume of Afrikaans short stories in 1989, followed by a
historical novel. After moving to New Zealand in 1998, Van den Berg switched to
writing in English. His crime novel, Nobody Dies, was published to
considerable acclaim in New Zealand and saw an Afrikaans edition released as ’n Ander
mens in South Africa in 2013. The book won the film category in the inaugural
KykNet-Rapport book awards in 2014 and Van den Berg’s film
script based on that book is currently being considered for production.
Half of One Thing by Zirk van den
Berg Book homepage