I’m finally able to share some big news for fans of Mortal Engines (and indeed, writers of Mortal Engines). I’m not sure how much I can say about it at the moment, so I’m just going to leave some salient bits of the press release here.
Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies) are making the feature Mortal Engines, based on the award winning book series of the same name from British author Philip Reeve.
Jackson and Walsh have co-written the screenplay with collaborator Philippa Boyens (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies). Christian Rivers is attached to direct. Christian has spent the majority of his 25-year career working closely with Jackson, beginning as a Story Board Artist, later moving into supervising visual effects and finally serving as Splinter Unit Director on The Hobbit trilogies. Christian won an Academy Award® for his work on the 2005 film, King Kong (Best Achievement in Visual Effects). He also recently served as second unit director on the remake of Pete’s Dragon. Mortal Engines is his first project as Director.
“Christian is one of my closest collaborators,” says Jackson, “The combination of emotion and jaw-dropping visuals in ‘Mortal Engines’ makes this the perfect movie for his move into feature directing. What Christian intends to do with Philip Reeve’s terrific story is going to result in an original and spectacular movie. I wish I could see it tomorrow!”
“’Mortal Engines’ is one of those stories that was made for the big screen,” says Rivers. “A fantastical, futuristic world that has to be seen to be believed. At its heart though, it’s a beautiful love story and a richly complex character driven adventure. To be the director who gets to bring Philip Reeve’s incredible universe to life is a dream come true.”
“I’m thrilled that Christian, Fran, Philippa and Peter are bringing my book to the screen,” said Philip Reeve. “They’ve created some of the most memorable imaginary worlds in modern cinema, so I can’t wait to experience their vision of the world of ‘Mortal Engines.’”
The actor Robert Sheehan is playing the part of Tom Natsworthy in the Mortal Engines movie at this moment (well, it’s happening in New Zealand so I hope he’s tucked up in bed while I write this, but you know what I’m driving at). Anyway, the lovely people who run his online fan community The Sheehab got in touch with some questions which I’ve answered here. (I don’t know much about the film, and couldnt discuss it even if I did, so we mainly concentrated on the books.) They’re good questions! I hope I’ll be able to do more with the Sheehab as the movie’s 2018 release date draws nearer…
Now that Railhead is on the shortlist for the Carnegie Medal pupils in schools all over the country will be reading it as part of the Carnegie Shadowing scheme (and probably going ‘this is SO BORING’, but hopefully it’s winning a few new fans). Anyway, here’s an interview which I recorded for the Carnegie/Kate Greenaway website. It was shot outside my house a few weeks ago, and the curious creatures in the background are Alfie and Iggy, the alpacas.
Here’s a companion video in which I put my glasses on and read an excerpt from early on in the book…
I’m very pleased to learn that Railhead has made it onto the shortlist for this year’s Carnegie Medal!
The Carnegie is one of the most prestigious UK prizes for children’s books, awarded by CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). It’s a great honour, and a very strong shortlist. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on xx June, but whatever happens it’s lovely to be on the shortlist again, (I was previously shortlisted for Fever Crumb, and foe Here Lies Arthur, which went on to win). Congratulations to all the other shortlists! I’m very grateful to all the librarians who have supported Railhead.
Meanwhile, the UKLA (United Kingdom Literacy Association) has also shortlisted Railhead for its 2017 award – and Pugs of the Frozen North, the third of my collaborations with Sarah McIntyre, is also shortlisted in the younger category!
As with the Carnegie, the UKLA shortlist is very strong (it’s been a good year for children’s books) and you can see it here.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the Science Fiction Writers of America have been drawing up the shortlists for their famous Nebula Awards, and they’ve nominated Railhead for an André Norton Award (a prize for books aimed at children or young adults, and named after an author whose space stories I used to read when I was at school – very good they were too). The shortlist also includes Frances Hardinge’s superb The Lie Tree, and you can find it here.
Needless to say, I don’t hold out high hopes of winning all (or any) of these awards in the face of such stiff competition, but fingers crossed. And it’s nice to know that Railhead is good enough to get on shortlists. I hope this will draw it to the attention of some new readers, and that some of them will go on to read the sequel, Black Light Express.