EXCLUSIVE: Requiem and The Missing producer New Pictures has optioned the screen rights to female-fronted dystopian YA novel The Territory by Sarah Govett.

New Pictures’ Elaine Pyke acquired the rights from Casarotto Ramsay & Associates in a deal brokered by Mark Casarotto of Casarotto Ramsay on behalf of the Jane Turnbull Agency.

The well-received novel, set in 2059, follows Noa Blake, a member of ‘The Territory’, a safe haven in the midst of the disease ridden ‘Wetlands’. Each year thousands of children are shipped off to near certain death following population purges. Surrounded by ‘freakoids’, genetically engineered children who are able to download knowledge into their brains, Blake has her work cut out to stay educated and stay alive. Firefly Press published the novel, the first in a trilogy, in 2015.

Author Govett said of the deal, “I’m really excited that New Pictures wanted to option the rights because they have such a great feel for teen entertainment and I think they will do a fantastic job visualising the dystopian storyline of The Territory. I wrote The Territory in order to highlight the environmental and educational challenges that teenagers are facing today, so I’m delighted about the prospect of seeing the books come to life on TV.”

Mark Casarotto added, “New Pictures’ decision to option the rights to The Territory couldn’t be more timely. Govett’s vision of a dystopian Britain, where climate change and educational inequality have created a bleak future for teenagers, resonates loudly with what is happening in the world today. Her strong female protagonist and friends are relatable, hopeful and inspiring all at once.”

Growing UK TV outfit New Pictures is exec producer on Netflix’s The Innocents and is in production on HBO’s Catherine The Great. It is also working on The Elephant Man with Charlie Heaton.