Stacey Abrams’ latest novel, “While Justice Sleeps,” will be adapted for a series by Working Title Television, part of NBCUniversal International Studios. The announcement comes after a high-stakes bidding war for the former member of the Georgia House of Representatives and fervent voting activist’s new legal thriller. The Universal Studios Group division prevailed and won the rights to the book, which is out Tuesday from Penguin Random House.
“After weathering the competitive storm to secure Stacey’s novel, we are elated to have come out on top,” said Tim Bevan, co-chairman, Working Title Television, in a statement. “This is one of those rare moments when the opportunity feels right, and we look forward to developing this thrilling project with the multi-hyphenate Abrams.”
“As the media landscape continues to flourish with infinite content, we are excited to embark on this journey with Stacey, who has played an instrumental role in the American narrative and now, television industry,” added Pearlena Igbokwe, chairman, Universal Studio Group. “We look forward to bringing a level of authenticity, cultural representation and universal storytelling to this project, which we believe audiences will enjoy.”
Per the synopsis, the two-time New York Times best-selling author’s novel follows Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Wynn, whose descent into a coma plunges the court, and the country, into turmoil and turns Avery’s life upside down. She is immediately notified that Justice Wynn has left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney. Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery discovers not only that Justice Wynn had been secretly researching one of the most controversial cases before the court — a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, which promises to unleash breathtaking results in the medical field, but also that Justice Wynn suspected a dangerous conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington.
“While Justice Sleeps” is the first novel published under Abrams’ real name. Her previous romance novels and memoirs were written under the pseudonym, Selena Montgomery. Abrams, who will be executive producing, said that she wrote the book to “unravel a political mystery about power and secrets through the eyes of a protagonist dealing with her own demons.”
“I am excited about the book’s release today, and I look forward to working with Working Title Television and Universal Studio Group to bring the intriguing world of Avery Keene to television,” Abrams continued. She is repped by UTA, who brokered the deal, and The Loewenthal Company.
The project will be produced by Working Title Television with Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner executive producing alongside Abrams. Working Title Television’s Head of TV for the US, Katy Rozelle is overseeing the development and also serves as an executive producer. Working Title Television is best known for Amazon Prime Video’s “Hanna,” Netflix’s “Tales of the City” and BBC One’s “The Luminaries”
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