The Etisalat-prize shortlisted The Seed Thief, by Cape Town-based journalist and author Jacqui L’Ange, is to be made into a film. An international co-production with links to Brazil, Panama, Europe, Singapore, as well as South Africa, will work together to produce it.
Independent producer Rodrigo Chiaro, who has bought film rights in The Seed Thief, has high expectations for the film.
He said he was “captivated by this formidable book” and was drawn to its exotic settings and universal appeal.
This entrancing and richly imagined novel – L’Ange’s first – is described as a modern love story with an ancient history that moves from the flora of Table Mountain to the heart of Afro-Brazilian spiritualism.
It tells the story of botanist Maddy Bellani, who is asked to travel to Brazil to collect rare seeds from a plant that could cure cancer.
Securing the tiny seeds would be a coup for the seed bank in Cape Town where she works, but Brazil is also the country of her birth and home to her estranged father.
Despite the help of mysterious and alluring local plant expert Zé, the plant specimen proves to be elusive, its seeds guarded by a sect deeply wary of outsiders. Maddy must also find her way in a world influenced by unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies and the selfish motives of others.
An experienced journalist, editor, scriptwriter, and now author, L’Ange is the former books editor of Psychologies magazine and former deputy editor and books editor of the South African edition of O – the Oprah Magazine.
She was born in Durban but had a multi-national childhood, having also lived in Brazil, Germany and the US.
A passionate environmentalist, L’Ange attended the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio, in 1992.
She is now working on her second novel, which also has an ecological theme.
The Seed Thief, published in 2015, was very well received at the time and has been long- and short-listed for various awards, including the Mslexia Novel Award, The Sunday Times Fiction Award and the Etisalat Prize for Literature.
L’Ange previously also penned a children’s book titled Miss Helen’s Magical World.
The Seed Thief is published by Umuzi and the recommended price is R230.