From book to film: what’s coming in the second half of 2015?

From the classics Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Hardy) and Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert) to more recent titles such as Paper Towns (John Green, HarperCollins) and The Dressmaker (Rosalie Ham, Duffy & Snellgrove), Erika Lucciola rounds up the book-to-film adaptations coming to Australian cinemas in the second half of 2015.

After three previous adaptations, Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd is coming back to the big screen under the direction of Thomas Vinterberg. Adapted by author David Nicholls, the film stars Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene, Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak, Michael Sheen as William Boldwood and Tom Sturridge as Sergeant Frank Troy. While some have compared it unfavourably to John Schlesinger’s 1967 adaptation, the film has received largely positive reviews. It will be in Australian cinemas on 25 June.

Sophia Barthes is the first woman to direct a big-screen adaptation of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Starring Australian actress Mia Wasikowska as Emma Bovary and Henry Lloyd-Hughes as her husband, the film opened to mixed reviews at the Telluride Film Festival in 2014. It’s coming to Australian cinemas in June.

Director Bill Condon reunites with his Gods and Monsters star Ian McKellen for a story about an aging Sherlock Holmes who is coping with the loss of his once-incredible mind. Sherlock Holmes, based on the 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind (Mitch Cullin, Doubleday), made its debut at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year and will screen at the Sydney Film Festival on 6 June.

While Tom Rob Smith’s latest novel The Farm (S&S) has recently been in the bestsellers chart, director Richard Price has adapted his first novel Child 44 (S&S) for the screen. Tom Hardy (Black Hawk Down, Inception, Warrior) stars as Agent Leo Demidov, who is on the trail of a serial killer in 1950s Soviet Union. The film hasn’t been received well by the critics, but Hardy’s performance has been highly praised. It will be in Australian cinemas in July.

Paper Towns is the second of John Green’s YA novels to be adapted for the screen, following last year’s smash-hit The Fault in Our Stars. The film is directed by Jake Schreier (Robot & Frank) with the same screenwriters from TFIOS. Nat Wolff—who also appeared in TFIOS—and Cara Delevingne star as childhood friends ‘Q’ and Margo. Paper Towns has been in the bestsellers chart for the past month in anticipation of its release in July.

Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) directs the crime film Black Mass, based on the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill (HarperCollins). The film stars Johnny Depp as South Boston crime figure Whitey Bugler, Australian actor Joel Edgerton as FBI agent John Connolly and Kevin Bacon as Connolly’s boss. The film will be released worldwide on 18 September.

Book two in James Dashner’s ‘The Maze Runner’ trilogy, The Scorch Trials (Chicken House), has been adapted for the screen and is coming to cinemas in September. Director Wes Ball and screenwriter T S Nowlin are back on board, as are actors Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee and Patricia Clarkson.

Kate Winslet stars in director Jocelyn Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker (Duffy & Snellgrove), based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Australian author Rosalie Ham. The film, which was produced in Victoria, also stars The Hunger Games’  Liam Hemsworth as Kate Winslet’s love interest. It’s due in Australian cinemas in October.

Billy Ray (screenwriter for The Hunger Games and Captain Phillips) directs the crime thriller The Secret in their Eyes (Random House), based on Argentine author Eduardo Sacheri’s novel of the same name. A previous adaptation won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010. This adaptation, starring Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dean Norris and Julia Roberts, will be released in Australian cinemas in October.

The fourth and final ‘Hunger Games’ movie, Mockingjay Part 2, based on Suzanne Collins’ series (Scholastic), will hit Australian cinemas in late November.

Drew Goddard (screenwriter and director of The Cabin in the Woods) has adapted Andy Weir’s debut sci-fi novel The Martian (self-published 2011, then published by Crown Publishing). The film is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Matt Demon and Jessica Chastain. It is expected to be released in Australia in November.

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Tom Holland star as the crew of the whaleship Essex in director Ron Howard’s adaptation of the 2000 book In the Heart of the Sea (Nathaniel Philbrik, Viking). The story of the whaleship Essex, which sunk in the Pacific Ocean after encountering a large, enraged sperm whale, might sound familiar to readers; the same incident inspired Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. The film will be released in Australian cinemas in December.

Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables) has brought David Ebershoff’s novel The Danish Girl (A&U) to the big screen. Inspired by the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener, who underwent sexual reassignment surgery, The Danish Girl explores sexuality, self-discovery, courage and unconventional love. The film stars Eddie Redmayne as Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe, and will be in Australian cinemas in December.

Also coming in December is Carol, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 romance novel The Price of Salt, directed by Todd Haynes and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as lesbian lovers.

Top stories this week

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Top stories this week

wbnimage2015feb26This week’s top stories from the Weekly Book Newsletter include:

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New magazine out now!

bpluspmag2015e1_w300Make sure you grab a copy of Books+Publishing magazine’s first issue of 2015! Inside you’ll find 21 reviews of adult books and 17 reviews of children’s books publishing between March and May.

Just one adult title was awarded five stars by our reviewers. Angie Andrewes wrote Panthers and the Museum of Fire (Jen Craig, Spineless Wonders) is ‘an experimental novella but surprisingly easy to read, and brilliant for the very ordinariness of its subject’. Two other adult fiction books, The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine (Krissy Kneen, Text) and Anchor Point (Alice Robinson, Affirm Press), were awarded four stars.

All but one of the adult nonfiction books were awarded four stars by our reviewers. These include Bloodhound: Searching for My Father (Ramona Koval, Text); One Life: My Mother’s Story (Kate Grenville, Text); Mothermorphosis (ed. by Monica Dux, MUP); and Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather (Karen Lamb, UQP).

Among the feature articles, Gary Copeland reports on book industry supply chains; Matthia Dempsey asks publishers about their parental leave policies; audiobook narrator Humphrey Bower shares his career journey; Hilary Simmons looks at the Australian poetry scene; and Chloe Townson asks Oliver Mol about his memoir, Lion Attack! (Scribe).

» Junior Term 1

B+P_JUNIORMasthead_2015_PRINT.inddAmong reviewers’ top picks in the current edition of Junior is Alice’s Food A-Z (Alice Zaslavsky, illus by Kat Chadwick, Walker Books). Reviewer Tim White, who is an expert in cookbooks as co-owner of Melbourne bookstore Books for Cooks, has awarded five stars to Zaslavsky’s introduction to food, food science and health for young readers.

Eight Junior books were awarded four stars by reviewers. These were Billie’s Underwater Adventure (Sally Rippin, illus by Alisa Coburn, Hardie Grant Egmont); Bogtrotter (Margaret Wild, illus by Judith Rossell, Walker Books); A Curry for Murray (Kate Hunter, illus by Lucia Masciullo, UQP); Anyone but Ivy Pocket (Caleb Krisp, Bloomsbury); Johnny Danger: DIY Spy (Peter Millett, Puffin); A Single Stone (Meg McKinlay, Walker Books); The Hush (Skye Melki-Wegner, Random House); and Prince of Afghanistan (Louis Nowra, A&U). Frances Atkinson talks Meg McKinlay about A Single Stone here.

In this edition, Carody Culver investigates the effect of big-screen adaptations of children’s and YA books on the publishing industry; Mason Engelander explores how eco-friendly children’s books have evolved with the rise of the green movement; meet US author Laurie Halse Anderson, a guest speaker at the Reading Matters conference in Melbourne in May; and read about children’s bookstore and toy shop Three Four Knock on the Door from owner L-J Lacey, who opened the store with her sister Danielle.

All these reviews, interviews and stories, and many more, can be found at our website:

Bestsellers this week

Pete Evans Family FoodPete Evans’ Family Food (Plum) is this week’s fastest mover, having jumped from sixth to first spot on the top 10 bestsellers chart. The rest of the titles in the top 10 remain mostly unchanged, with The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Richard Flanagan, Vintage) and The Long Haul (Jeff Kinney, Puffin) each dropping down one spot to second and third place respectively. Other notable movers in the chart include the film tie-in for American Sniper (Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice, HarperCollins), which jumped from 10th to fourth spot in the top 10, making it this week’s second fastest mover, and Die Again (Tess Gerritsen, Bantam), the only new title in the top 10. The highest new entry for the week is Firefight (Brandon Sanderson, Hachette)—Books+Publishing (source: Nielsen BookScan, week ending 17 January 2015)

Bestsellers this week

jamie_comfort_foodJamie Oliver is climbing up the bestsellers chart in the lead-up to Christmas. Three of his titles are among the week’s fastest movers, with Jamie’s Comfort Food (Michael Joseph) at the top of the fastest movers chart and in third spot on the overall bestsellers chart. There’s no change at the very top of the bestsellers chart, with Jeff Kinney’s The Long Haul (Puffin) and Matthew Reilly’s The Great Zoo of China (Macmillan) in first and second place, respectively, for the second week in a row. Local titles The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Richard Flanagan, Vintage), The 52-Storey Treehouse (Andy Griffiths, Pan), Family Food (Pete Evans, Plum) and Gallipoli (Peter FitzSimons, William Heinemann) have each held on to a spot in the top 10. The week’s highest new entry is Captivated by You (Sylvia Day, Penguin), which debuted in sixth spot overall—Books+Publishing.

Top 10 political bios of the past decade

How will Julia Gillard’s memoir measure up against her predecessors’? Nielsen BookScan has put together a list of the bestselling political biographies and memoirs of the past 10 years.

  1. Dreams from My Father (Barack Obama, Text, 2008)
  2. Lazarus Rising (John Howard, HarperCollins, 2010)
  3. My Life (Bill Clinton, Hutchinson, 2004)
  4. I Am Malala (Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb, Hachette, 2013)
  5. The Latham Diaries (Mark Latham, Melbourne University
    Press, 2005)
  6. Stasiland (Anna Funder, Text, 2003)
  7. Infidel (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Pocket Books, 2008)
  8. Conversations with Myself (Nelson Mandela, Macmillan, 2010)
  9. Mandela (Five Mile Press, 2006)
  10. The Costello Memoirs (Peter Costello & Peter Coleman, Melbourne University Press, 2008).


The Stella Count: 2013 gender ratios in books pages revealed

Books by male authors received on average 55.4% of coverage in Australia’s major newspapers and literary journals compared to 44.6% for books by female authors, the 2013 Stella Count has revealed.

For the third year in a row—and the second year in conjunction with the Stella Prize—Books+Publishing has compiled Australian statistics showing how many women and men were reviewed in Australia’s major newspapers and literary journals.

The 2013 red and blue pie charts, which are modelled on those produced by US-based organisation VIDA, are relatively similar to those from 2012 and 2011, with some publications recording an increase in coverage of female authors and others recording a drop. The two publications with the largest bias towards male authors were the Australian Financial Review, with 85% of its reviews devoted to books by male authors (up from 80% in 2012), and the Weekend Australian, with 65% of its reviews (down from 70% in 2012).

This year, the Stella Count also considered the genders of literary reviewers, and found that while female reviewers reviewed books by both men and women, male reviewers overwhelmingly reviewed books by men.

‘The Stella Count reveals that not only are books by men reviewed more often, but male reviewers tend to review books written by men and these reviews are often longer and given more prominence,’ Stella Prize chair Aviva Tuffield told Books+Publishing. ‘All of this suggests that there is still a vital role for the Stella Prize to play in highlighting Australian women’s contribution to literature and in bringing more readers—male and female alike—to books by female authors.’

Notes on the data: anthologies and other books with both male and female authors were excluded from this count. Every effort has been made to ensure these statistics are accurate, and any publication for which we were unable to obtain sufficient or reliable data this year has been excluded from the count. This count surveyed print publications only.

With thanks to 2013 Stella Count coordinators Fay Helfenbaum and Veronica Sullivan.


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