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Fantasy novel short-listed for Berlin International Film Festival

24/01/2008. Contributed by Jessica Martin

Buy The Court of the Air in the USA - or Buy The Court of the Air in the UK

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Ten novels (written in a wide variety of languages) have been selected for presentation by the world's main publishers on February 12th 2008 at the Berlin International Film Festival - the world's largest film festival with 200,000 movie and TV professionals attending. But only one fantasy and science fiction movie made the cut. Find out which one by reading this ...

Organised by the Berlin International Film Festival in cooperation with the Frankfurt Book Fair for the third time, the Breakfast & Books section of the film fair enables representatives from publishing houses, literary agents and producers to meet for a pitching session, followed by breakfast together. Producers interested in the film rights can discuss matters on location with right holders.

Ten titles, which have been picked on the strength of their potential for the screen, will be presented by renowned publishers from around the globe, such as HarperCollins, Random House, Diogenes, Grasset & Fasquelle, and Suhrkamp.

The selection for 2008 covers a range of themes and genres from terrorism thriller to fantasy, from coming-of-age parable to period drama - there will be something for every producer and every budget.

The only genre fantasy and science fiction novel to be short-listed is Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air, an epic fantasy adventure set in a society with parallels to 18th/19th century England.

The Guardian said of this fantasy book, "The characters are convincing and colourful, but the real achievement is the setting, a hellish take on Victorian London where grim, steam-driven machines work beside citizens with magical powers. The Court of the Air is aimed at young adults, but the depth and complexity of Hunt's vision makes it compulsive reading for all ages."

The Times called Hunt's novel, "An inventive, ambitious work, full of wonders and marvels." while SFX magazine said of it, "Hunt can take his place alongside such eminent Magratheans as JRR Tolkien, Mervyn Peake and China Mieville. Creating a fully-realised other-world which feels new and different, yet cohesive and believable is half the battle in a fantasy novel, and it is a battle Hunt wins with honours... Hunt's world is so rich and colourful it keeps you engrossed ... It's a confident audacious novel."

Since autumn 2005, the Berlinale (aka the Berlin International Film Festival) and the Frankfurt Book Fair, two of Germany's largest cultural and economic affairs, have collaborated on creating a forum for film producers and publishers at both these huge events, and in doing so to promote contacts and long-term synergies between the worlds of literature and film.

The novels short-listed from the many thousands of submitted works are:

1. The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt, HarperCollins Publishers, Great Britain
2. The Girl with the Nine Fingers by Laia FÓbregas, Netherlands
3. Baptism by Max Kinnings, Great Britain
4. The Weekend (Das Wochenende) by Bernhard Schlink, Switzerland
5. My Traitor by Sorj Chalandon, France
6. The Lady from Buenos Aires by John Lantigua, Germany
7. Catalina by Markus Orths, Germany
8. Zephyr by Albert Ostermeier, Germany
9. Through Thick and Thin by Shirley Corlett, Germany
10. The Messenger by Markus Zusak, Germany

More on Stephen Hunt's works can be found at the author's official site,

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