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Original When Marnie Was There Novel Int'l Sales Boost

posted on by Andrew Osmond
International sales rights for British novel boosted by Ghibli film version

The Bookseller magazine reports that the British novel When Marnie Was There, which was the basis for Studio Ghibli's 2014 film (pictured right), has received "an international sales boost" because of the anime.

The rights to the book were sold to Studio Ghibli in spring 2012. Since then, the book's translation rights have been sold to ten countries, including Japan, China, Spain and Italy. (An earlier Japanese edition of the book, published in 2003, is pictured left.) The book has also been reissued in Britain by HarperCollins Childrens Books, while the Ghibli film version will be released in British cinemas on June 10 by Studio Canal.

The original Marnie novel was written by Joan G. Robinson and published in 1967. In 1971, it was serialised on the BBC series Jackanory, in which celebrities read children's books (Marnie was read by the actress Ann Bell). Like the film, the book is the story of a girl, Anna, who is sent to a coastal village where she encounters the mysterious girl Marnie, who becomes Anna's best friend. However, it is not clear if Marnie is actually real, a ghost, or something else. The book's author Robinson died in 1988; the rights to the book are now handled by the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency.

The original book was set in Norfolk, but in the Ghibli adaptation, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi shifted the setting to a Japanese village on the shores of the Japanese island Hokkaido. Yonebayashi wrote the screenplay with Keiko Niwa (The Secret World of Arrietty) and Masashi Ando (A Letter to Momo, Spirited Away and Paprika). Ando also handled the character designs and animation direction. Takatsugu Muramatsu composed the film's soundtrack.

The film version first premiered in Japan in July 2014, and was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar on January 14.

Thanks to Ian Wolf for the heads-up.

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