Universal Pictures has optioned The New Winter, the upcoming debut novel by Aussie writer Anna Snoekstra. The pic project will be produced by Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan of Working Title, and marks the first official deal for the studio and the UK outfit since re-upping their first-look deal last week to 2020.

The book, to be published by Harlequin imprint Mira in 2016, centers on a runaway woman trying to escape her past who pretends to be a girl abducted from a small town 10 years before. The girl’s family takes her in until she slowly starts to uncover the mysterious circumstances and family secrets that actually lead to their daughter’s disappearance.

working titleLiza Chasin will executive produce. Newly minted EVP Production Erik Baiers, who has worked closely with Working Title on titles including Les Miserables, and creative executive Chloe Yellin will oversee for the studio.

This adds to Working Title’s strong Universal pipeline that produced last year’s Best Picture Oscar nominee The Theory Of Everything which won Best Actor for Eddie Redmayne. Movies in the works include the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar, 3D action adventure Everest and the Redmayne-starring The Danish Girl via Universal’s Focus Features.

Snoekstra is repped by CAA and Trident Media Group.