When then-actress and office temp Jessie Burton turned up for the first session of her Curtis Brown Creative writing course back in 2011, she would never have imagined the novel she was to work on over the next three months – The Miniaturist – would end up as one of the main events of the Christmas TV schedules. Starring Romola Garai (Atonement, Suffragette) and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), the two-part adaptation of Jessie’s bestselling debut will begin at 9pm on BBC1 on Boxing Day and concludes the following day.
Though Jessie is not the only former student from our creative writing courses to have her book adapted for the screen – Jane Harper’s The Dry has been optioned by Reese Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard production company – The Miniaturist mini-series will be the first time that characters developed on a CBC course will be brought to life on screen. Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Nella Oortman, with Romola Garai playing her cold, domineering sister-in-law Marin. Nella’s merchant husband, Johannes Brandt, will be portrayed by Alex Hassell who previously starred in the 2003 Oscar-winning film Cold Mountain. The Miniaturist was made for the BBC by independent drama company The Forge and is co-produced with Masterpiece, the drama strand on US public service broadcasting network PBS. It has been adapted by John Brownlow and directed by Guillem Morales, with Gethin Scourfield as the producer.
‘I’m so happy to be part of this superb adaptation of Jessie Burton’s exquisite, genre-bending novel,’ says Romola Garai. ‘Marin is a character with an extraordinary journey of true complexity and depth. I am also truly honoured to be working alongside such an extraordinary cast and creative team on bringing this moving and iconic story to life.’
‘This is an adventure for my book I never dreamed possible, and I’m so happy that The Miniaturist is in such capable and creative hands,’ says Jessie. ‘The assembled cast is perfect to the vision I had in my mind’s eye in every way, and I know they’ll make magic. Kate Sinclair [The Forge’s executive producer] has created an exciting and powerful framework for the story to be told – and, quite simply, I cannot wait to see it on the screen.’
For an in-depth course as part of a group of 15 (in which students are selected on the basis of their submission) with a great tutor and participation from our literary agents, apply for:
Six-Month Novel-Writing Course in London with Christopher Wakling (deadline for applications is Sunday 21 January).
Six-Month Online Novel-Writing Course with Lisa O’Donnell (deadline for applications is Sunday 28 January).
For a dedicated online course for those writing for young adults or children as part of a group of 15 (in which students are selected on the basis of their submission), with a top children’s author, apply for:
Writing YA and Children’s Fiction with Catherine Johnson (deadline for applications is Sunday 4 February).
We are also offering three low-cost ‘foundation’ online courses, featuring tuition from CBC director Anna Davis:
Starting to Write Your Novel (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 15 January).
Write to the End of Your Novel (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 22 January).
Edit & Pitch Your Novel (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 29 January).