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Longboat Pictures options Vanessa Riley's Island Queen

Julie Anne Robinson, fresh off an Emmy nomination for directing Bridgerton, has optioned Vanessa Riley’s recently released novel Island Queen to develop for television via her UK-based Longboat Pictures production company, with Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh attached to executive produce.

Island Queen is based on the true story of Dorothy “Doll” Kirwan Thomas, who was born enslaved, bought her freedom and became one of the wealthiest and most powerful landowners in the early 1800s Caribbean. Longboat Pictures secured the novel at the manuscript stage.

Robinson and Longboat co-founder and former ITV Senior Drama Commissioner Victoria Fea, will executive produce, along with Andoh.

“Vanessa has crafted a groundbreaking and inspiring story that vividly depicts the remarkable life of Dorothy Thomas,” Robinson said. “We are so excited to be bringing it to the screen, and I could not be happier to have this opportunity to continue the collaboration with Adjoa that began on Bridgerton.”

Island Queen, released by William Morrow this month, has been garnering critical praise, with The New York Times calling it “evocative and immersive.”

“In Island Queen, Vanessa has beautifully reintegrated the extraordinary history and perspective of an empowered black woman, into the wider story of Caribbean slavery and the British Empire. Putting history back into history, this is a story whose time is now.” said Andoh, who also serves as the narrator of the Island Queen audiobook. “I am so excited to be working alongside Julie Anne again at Longboat as we develop this project, bringing Vanessa’s vision and Dorothy’s astonishing true story to the screen.”

This story first appeared in Deadline. You can read the full article here .

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