The Haunting of Alma Fielding, Kate Summerscale’s Baillie Gifford Prize shortlisted novel, is to be adapted for television by New Pictures with writer Charlotte Stoudt (Fosse/Verdon) and director Minkie Spiro (The Plot Against America, Fosse/Verdon).

Charlotte Stoudt and Minkie Spiro are currently working together on an eight-part psychological thriller, ‘Pieces of Her’: an adaptation of the New York Times bestseller for Netflix, starring Toni Collette. Stoudt’s previous writing work includes ‘Fosse/Verdon’, ‘Homeland’ and ‘House of Cards’. Minkie Spiro has directed ‘The Plot Against America’, ‘Fosse/Verdon’ and ‘Dead to Me’.

The Haunting of Alma Fielding is billed as “an exceptional true ghost story and an unconventional love story.” In 1938, Alma Fielding, an ordinary young housewife, begins to experience supernatural events in her suburban home. Objects shatter, vanish, or take flight, assaulting Alma Fielding and her family.  Reporters see it with their own eyes.  It is impossible but it is happening.  And Alma seems to be at the centre.

Nandor Fodor – a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical Research – begins to investigate. In doing so he discovers a different and darker type of haunting: trauma, alienation, loss – and the foreshadowing of a nation’s worst fears. As the spectre of Fascism lengthens over Europe, and as Fodor’s obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed.

Is it a hoax, a ghost, or Alma’s unconscious mind wrestling with a buried secret? Fodor is determined to find the truth. Kate Summerscale’s meticulously researched book uncovers the human story behind a very modern haunting.

Kate Summerscale is an award-winning author, best known for the number one bestselling ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2008, winner of the Galaxy British Book of the Year Award, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and adapted into a major ITV drama starring Paddy Considine and Olivia Colman. Her first book, the bestselling ‘The Queen of Whale Cay’, won a Somerset Maugham award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award.

The television rights were acquired by New Pictures, part of theAll3Media Group, from Julia Kreitman at The Agency in association with Georgia Garrett at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

New Pictures CEO, Willow Grylls will develop and executive produce the project with Stoudt and Spiro. New Pictures’ recent credits include ‘Des’ starring David Tennant which was the biggest new drama launch on British television in 2020 and ‘White House Farm’ for ITV & HBO Max which also sits in the top 5 new UK drama launches for 2020. Other recent productions include ‘Catherine the Great’, starring Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke for Sky & HBO, ‘Cobra’, a political drama for Sky One and ‘The Deceived’, psychological thriller for Channel 5. New Pictures is also known for the Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated series ‘The Missing’ for BBC One & STARZ.  Upcoming projects include a second series of ‘Cobra’ for Sky One, ‘Dalgliesh’, a six part series adaptation of P.D. James’ Inspector Dalgliesh Mysteries crime novels starring Bertie Carvel for Channel 5 & Acorn TV and an untitled six part drama based on crimes of Peter Sutcliffe for ITV.

Willow Grylls, New Pictures CEO said: “I am thrilled to be developing Kate’s exceptional book with the brilliant Charlotte Stoudt and Minkie Spiro – a story of feminine energy that cannot stay in its place as society dictates with two unique roles at its heart.”

Kate Summerscale added: “I am delighted that New Pictures are adapting ‘The Haunting of Alma Fielding’ for the screen — they are a brilliant team, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the story.”

Kate Summerscale’s The Haunting of Alma Fielding was published by Bloomsbury Circus in hardback in October 2020

Jon Creamer

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