Redi’s book ends, but a film begins

2013-05-26 14:00

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A judge in the Sunday Times Alan Paton Awards for nonfiction was so blown away when he read Redi Tlhabi’s Endings & Beginnings that he optioned the film rights – and resigned from the panel due to conflict of interest.

The book went on to be short-listed for the awards and Antony Altbeker, himself a noted author, is now putting together the team that will develop the screenplay.

“The story is phenomenal,” said Altbeker this week, confirming he had signed for the rights with Tlhabi’s publishers, Jacana Media, last week.

Endings & Beginnings tells of the 11-year-old Redi’s intense friendship with a 20-year-old jackroller and murderer while she was growing up in Orlando East in Soweto. “He’s a monster,” says Altbeker, “but the book explains how he became one.”

Tlhabi this week revealed that when the book was still just long-listed, she read in a newspaper that Altbeker had recused himself from judging, but did not know why.

Asked if she had imagined awards and films when writing the book, she laughed heartily.

“No! I wasn’t even aware I was writing a book! It was a journal I was writing, gathering facts about a certain chapter in my life for my own catharsis and insight.”

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