London-based Working Title has optioned The History Keepers, a new children’s novel due to be published by Random House Children’s Books in the UK this fall. It’s being pitched as “Harry Potter meets Doctor Who.” Actor-turned-screenwriter Damian Dibben’s debut novel follows a boy whose parents have been kidnapped not only to another part of the world but another time completely. Fourteen-year-old Jake Djones must travel backwards and forwards in time from present-day London to 19th century France and 16th century Venice trying to find his mum and dad. Dibben’s agent Jo Unwin of Conville & Walsh tells me U.S. rights publishing rights are still under auction. Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce for Working Title, the UK’s most successful film company (Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary). Rachel Holroyd of Casarotto Ramsay Associates negotiated the film deal. Random House bought The History Keepers — the first in a three book series — in a “substantial six-figure deal” according to Conville & Walsh. Holroyd said that there’s been a great deal of anticipation and interest around these books. “Everyone wants to have the next successful franchise and a family film that is educational and entertaining involving time travel ticks all the boxes,” she said.

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