‘Miss Austen’ novel about Jane Austen and her sister is coming to TV

A TV series based on Gill Hornby’s acclaimed new novel Miss Austen is being developed.

Hornby’s novel launched in the UK last month and has already been hailed as one of the books of 2020 by the Financial Times and The Times.

Set in 19th-century Britain, the fictional story is inspired by Jane Austen’s sister Cassandra’s infamous burning of Jane’s letters.

Miss Austen will be published in the US in April.

The novel’s official synopsis reads: “England, 1840. For the two decades following the death of her beloved sister, Jane, Cassandra Austen has lived alone, spending her days visiting friends and relations and quietly, purposefully working to preserve her sister’s reputation.

“Now in her sixties and increasingly frail, Cassandra goes to stay with the Fowles of Kintbury, family of her long-dead fiancé, in search of a trove of Jane’s letters. Dodging her hostess and a meddlesome housemaid, Cassandra eventually hunts down the letters and confronts the secrets they hold, secrets not only about Jane but about Cassandra herself.

“Will Cassandra bare the most private details of her life to the world, or commit her sister’s legacy to the flames?

“Moving back and forth between the vicarage and Cassandra’s vibrant memories of her years with Jane, interwoven with Jane’s brilliantly reimagined lost letters, Miss Austen is the untold story of the most important person in Jane’s life. With extraordinary empathy, emotional complexity, and wit, Gill Hornby finally gives Cassandra her due, bringing to life a woman as captivating as any Austen heroine.”

The upcoming TV adaptation will be made by Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow Productions, the producers of Gavin & Stacey and Alan Partridge.

Gill Hornby commented: “I am delighted that Miss Austen is going to the brilliant team at Baby Cow, and excited to work with them as Cassandra moves from the page to the screen.”

Baby Cow CEO Christine Langan added: “Gill has brought such wit, ingenuity and heartbreaking tenderness to this literary mystery, turning it into a terrifically compelling and relevant novel. Not only does she effortlessly capture Austen’s unique and irresistible tone but, in Cassandra, she may have delivered us the ultimate Austen heroine.”

Gill Hornby is the sister of English author Nick Hornby, writer of High Fidelity and About a Boy.

Miss Austen: A Novel is available on Amazon.