Steve Coogan’s production company has optioned Miss Austen, which was published by Penguin in the UK on Thursday and has been named as one of the books of 2020 by the Financial Times and The Times. The novel will launch in the U.S. in April through Flatiron.
Miss Austen tells the fictional story of the lives and loves of iconic British writer Austen and her sibling. It was inspired by Cassandra’s infamous burning of Jane’s letters — an act that has long bemused Austen experts — and has been lauded by critics for transporting readers back to Austen’s world in 19th-century Britain.
“Gill has brought such wit, ingenuity and heartbreaking tenderness to this literary mystery, turning it into a terrifically compelling and relevant novel,” said Baby Cow CEO Christine Langan. “Not only does she effortlessly capture Austen’s unique and irresistible tone but, in Cassandra, she may have delivered us the ultimate Austen heroine.”
Hornby, who is represented by literary agency Felicity Bryan Associates, added: “I am delighted that Miss Austen is going to the brilliant team at Baby Cow, and excited to work with them as Cassandra moves from the page to the screen.”
It caps a busy month for Baby Cow, which was commissioned by Channel 4 last week to make #MeToo comedy Chivalry. Coogan and Sarah Solemani are writing and co-starring in the series, which is likely to air in 2021.