Televised adaptations of literature by some renowned local authors to look forward to

11 August 2020 - 10:34 By Mila de Villiers
We see you shiver with antici ... pation: while waiting for the televised adaptations of 'The Shining Girls' and 'Shades' to hit the small screen, give 'Trackers' a re-watch.
We see you shiver with antici ... pation: while waiting for the televised adaptations of 'The Shining Girls' and 'Shades' to hit the small screen, give 'Trackers' a re-watch.
Image: Supplied

Published on Wanted Online (07/08/2020)

You secretly smaak'ed Gossip Girl, wept during Little Fires Everywhere, were unnerved by The Handmaid's Tale, infatuated with Normal People, and captivated by My Brilliant Friend.

Televised adaptations of American, Irish, and Italian novels have grabbed the collective series-conscious of bibliophiles worldwide — and Mzansi-borne literature is following suit.

From a series that debuted on Showmax last year to the forthcoming audiovisual renditions of Lauren Beukes and Marguerite Poland’s books, these shows are definitely the ones to look out for.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

'Lauren Beukes' has become synonymous with metaphysical thrillers set in reimagined cities and countries: be it an alternate Joburg (as featured in Zoo City), a futuristic, pandemic-ravaged USA (Afterland), or — as with The Shining Girls — a Chicago which transcends temporality.

Beukes' third novel, published in 2013, has been ordered by Apple TV and boasts Emmy award-winning actress Elisabeth Moss in the role of Kirby Mazrachi, a journalist who survives an attempted murder at the hands of Harper Curtis, a sadistic, time-travelling, Depression-era drifter who preys on intelligent, young women — the eponymous “shining girls” — as means to continue his travels. Oscar-award winner Leonardo DiCaprio will produce the series.

Flitting between the '30s and '90s, The Shining Girls follows Kirby's first encounter with Curtis and her eventual quest for justice (read: revenge). Yum.

Trackers by Deon Meyer

Rhino poaching. International terrorist organisations. State security. Diamond smuggling.

The recipe of Deon Meyer's 2011 novel Trackers couldn't be more suited for transitioning to the small screen. Add German producers, a stellar local cast, stylish writing, and spectacular cinematography to the mix and you have yourself a series to rival the likes of  global blockbusters.

Oh, and did I mention that it was the most popular M-Net series for 2k19? Then you mos know.

Shades by Marguerite Poland 

Penned by our doyenne of historical fiction, Marguerite Poland's Shades has been greenlit for a televised adaptation by international media company, C21.

Poland's novel transposes the reader to a turn of the 20th century SA and the vicissitudes of the time: rinderpest, drought, the South African war, ever-increasing cultural tensions, and the exploitation of migrant labourers. Set within the milieu of an isolated Eastern Cape mission, Shades explores political consciousness, conflicting beliefs surrounding religion and faith, the dissolution of tradition, acceptance, friendship, loss and — ultimately — love.

The visual translation of this classic work of literature, germane to contemporary SA, can hardly be awaited.