The Boy Who Belonged to the Sea,” the multiple award-winning 2001 novel by Canadian author Denis Theriault, has been acquired for film adaptation by fledgeling U.K. outfit the White Lotus Picture Company.

Set on the rugged north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada, the novel tells the story of two lonely boys united by grief. Together they take refuge in a magical undersea world of their own creation, searching for a sense of belonging. But for one of them the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur, and the loyalty of his friend is put to the test in a journey that threatens to end in tragedy.

The novel has won a clutch of literary awards including the Odyssey Prize, the Anne-Hebert Prize and Jean Hamelin Prize.

White Lotus was founded by Savyna Indranee Darby, who was previously a production designer at Mumbai’s EyeQube Studios VFX facility. Darby is adapting the novel alongside France-based U.K. author Geoff Dupuy-Holder (“Dark Sense”).

“I have had a daring journey in films, and as a woman of color, and a single parent to a 10-year-old boy, the tribulations have been manifold,” Darby. “I set up the White Lotus Picture Company with the aim to tell compelling stories about unsung heroes who rise above their fears and conquer their demons to save the day.”

“To me, the book ‘The Boy Who Belonged to the Sea’ is a powerful fable about belief and faith in our visions, in the face of loss and grief, to fulfill the universal need for a sense of belonging,” Darby added. “Its primary attraction remains the unspoken truth surrounding mental health for children and their uninhibited gift of dreaming to create a safe haven that is theirs and theirs alone.”