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Corona nabs trio of Wilbur Smith tomes

Brit company plans TV series

LONDON

U.K. shingle Corona Pictures has nabbed TV and film rights to three books by bestselling scribe Wilbur Smith.

Action-adventure novels “Birds of Prey,” “Monsoon” and “Blue Horizon” tell the story of three generations of the Courtney family as it battles to secure its fortunes in 17th-century Africa.

Corona plans to adapt the books as a TV series franchise, building on the author’s fanbase. Smith has had 33 books published in 52 countries, selling approximately 130 million copies.

Kevin Conroy Scott, managing director of Smith’s literary agency, Charles Pick Consultancy, said: “Ensuring Wilbur’s legacy and the continued growth of his fanbase is of primary interest to us, and the scale and ambition of Corona’s plans for a high-quality TV franchise, built around this group of titles, seemed a perfect fit.”

Corona, headed by producers Richard Johns and Rupert Jermyn, has also announced that it is setting up division Corona Television, which will focus on smallscreen production.

The shingle recently completed darkly comic thriller “The Liability,” directed by Craig Viveiros and starring Tim Roth, Jack O’Connell, Talulah Riley, Kierston Wareing and Peter Mullan, which will play in Cannes’ market.

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