Paulist Productions has optioned James Reston Jr.’s book The Innocence of Joan Little: A Southern Mystery, under its first-look deal with Author Solutions for development as a limited series.

The iUniverse title, originally published in 1977 by Time Books, details the landmark trial and acquittal of Joan Little, a young black woman who stabbed her white jailer/rapist and was tried for capital murder in 1974. The case drew international attention regarding a woman’s right to kill a rapist in self-defense, civil rights, prisoners’ rights and capital punishment. The book was re-released in 2000 through iUniverse and discovered in 2015 by Author Solutions.

“Paulist Productions has a long history of addressing pressing social issues and challenging the status quo through films and television. The prejudice, hatred and bigotry that Joan Little faced are still all too pervasive, and we are grateful for the opportunity to tell her remarkable story,” said Chris Donahue, president of Paulist Productions.