Claire McGlasson’s debut novel about a real-life cult, set in 1920s England, is being turned into a television series after Hillbilly Television optioned the rights.

The UK drama production company, which was founded byPolly Leys and Kate Norrish, is to develop a TV adaptation of The Rapture, which will be published in June 2019 by Faber and Faber, after fighting off fierce competition for the novel.

The Rapture is a story of madness and friendship, repressed emotions and acts of true devotion. It is set in 1926 in the UK market town of Bedford. A woman calling herself Octavia and claiming to be the Daughter of God is gathering followers, in what she believes was the original site of Eden. After the First World War claims countless husbands and sons, leaving many women alone, they are ready to find hope in Octavia’s Panacea Society. But one young member of the cult, in which members are required to spy on each other and report even the smallest transgression, isn’t there by choice. Dilys starts to untangle the truth from the lies.

Hillbilly previously produced ITV crime drama The Level, which starred Phillip Glenister, Karla Crome and Laura Haddock, Debbie Tucker Green’s single-drama Random for Channel 4 and comedy drama Loaded, which was co-produced with Israel’s Keshet for Channel 4 and AMC.

McGlasson said, “Hillbilly feels like the perfect fit for a story about femininity and power. Kate and Polly have an incredible vision for my novel and are passionate about championing women in their industry. I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with them.”

Hillbilly’s Kate Norrish added, ‘We fell in love with Claire’s wonderful novel the minute we read it.  At Hillbilly, we seek out projects that offer up something different – a fresh perspective, characters we’ve not seen before, stories that offer a sideways glance at the world. The Rapture offers all of this and more. ‘