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Colin Callender’s production company Playground has optioned the screen rights to C.K. McDonnell’s novel “The Stranger Times,” one of the most sought after titles in the publishing world.

The project was brought in by Playground’s VP production and development, Elyse Dolbec, and is being developed as a returning series for the global market.

“The Stranger Times” is the first novel in a series of supernatural thrillers – described in a statement as “smart and irreverent” – centered round a struggling weekly local newspaper dedicated to investigating the weird, the unexplained and the inexplicable.

C.K. McDonnell is the alter-ego of Caimh McDonnell, an Irish stand-up comedian, and author of “The Dublin Trilogy,” which comprised “A Man With One of Those Faces,” “The Day That Never Comes,” and “Last Orders,” all of which were bestsellers on Amazon. The trilogy also has a prequel, “Angels in the Moonlight.”

Transworld has taken English-language publishing rights for the world to “The Stranger Times,” which will be published in early 2021. The book series took off internationally within 24 hours of its submission to buyers. After a six-way auction in Germany, Eichborn took the local rights with a strong six-figure deal. This was followed by an auction in Spain, won by Atico de los Libros, and a deal in France with Pygmalion, with brisk interest coming from other territories.

Playground’s upcoming titles include TV reboots of “All Creatures Great and Small” and Starz’s “Dangerous Liaisons.” Past credits include “The Spanish Princess,” “Dracula” and “Wolf Hall,” and the stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”