BBC to turn former UEA student’s bestselling novel into 90-minute film

Emma Healey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Emma Healey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Emma Healey's award-winning debut novel, Elizabeth is Missing, is to be adapted for the screen.

The BBC are set transform University of East Anglia graduate Emma Healey's bestselling thriller into a 90-minute movie as part of their new drama series.

Miss Healey's novel, which was penned in Norwich, follows central protagonist Maud's quest to find out what happened to her friend Elizabeth, a mystery made all the more difficult because she has dementia.

The tale was inspired by the writer seeing her grandmother Nancy live with Dementia.

In an article penned for Alzheimer's Research UK, Miss Healey said: 'When I began to write Elizabeth is Missing there wasn't so much fiction about dementia and I was looking for a way to explore the subject in a meaningful manner.

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'To be honest, I wasn't really thinking of other readers at that moment, it was a selfish beginning. I just wanted better ways to guess what my grandmother and other members of my family were going through, how they might feel, what they might be thinking.'

Adapting the novel will be Scottish screenwriter and actress Andrea Gibb, who recently penned the 2016 Swallows and Amazons film.

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She said: 'I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to adapt this beautiful story. Emma has created an extraordinary heroine in Maud -she's funny, tenacious, loyal - while also giving us a moving portrait of dementia from the inside out.'

The BBC's controller of drama commissioning, Piers Wenger, added: 'Part detective story, part portrait of a fracturing mind, Andrea Gibb's witty, sensitive adaptation of Emma Healey's novel brings the first-hand account of experiencing dementia to life.'

Released in 2014, the novel has won various accolades, including the Costa First Novel Award.

Miss Healey's second book, Whistle in the Dark is due to be published on May, 3 2018 by Viking.

The novel will be a 'gripping mystery' about a family whose daughter goes missing, only to return four days later, with no memory of what happened.

Elizabeth is Missing is expected to be broadcast in 2019, with casting to be announced in the coming months.

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