Rights Available! 'Birth of a Nation' Sparks Interest in Other Tales About Slavery

'The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict,' the memoir of a black prisoner in the 1800s, along with a new book from the author of popular YA series 'The Darkest Minds,' are ripe for optioning.
Courtesy of Penguin Random House
'The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict'

This story first appeared in the Feb. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

This week's Rights Available titles are riding two hot – but very different –  trends in Hollywood. First, is a new YA novel from Alexandra Bracken, who penned the The Darkest Minds series and also the new Star Wars novelization (featuring the witty title Star Wars: A New Hope The Princess, The Scoundrel and the Farm Boy).  Also getting attention this week is a newly discovered memoir from an African American convict who lived during the 1800s. Written in 1858 and discovered in 2009, Haunted Convict is Austin Reed's story of multiple imprisonments in New York state beginning at the age of 12. The early reviews praising the book's "haunting eloquence" and Reed's "lyrical passionate voice" could position this as the next The Birth of the Nation. This week's titles:

Passenger (Disney Hyperion) by Alexandra Bracken
Agency: ICM

The author of the popular YA series The Darkest Minds moves from telekinetic to time-traveling teens, centering her latest, which debuted at No. 1 on the Times YA list, on a violin prodigy who is swept up in a time-hopping, dangerous adventure.

The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict (Random House) by Austin Reed, Caleb Smith (editor)
Agency: APA

A memoir from a black prisoner in the 1800s would seem a hard sell, but after the success of The Birth of a Nation and with stellar early reviews, this true-life tale, which was only discovered in 2009, is getting lots of buzz.