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Invisible Boys receives TV production boost

Edward ScownMidwest Times
Holden Sheppard sold the TV rights to 'Invisible Boys' in 2020. The book is based loosely on his real life experiences growing up as a homosexual in a country Western Australian town.
Camera IconHolden Sheppard sold the TV rights to 'Invisible Boys' in 2020. The book is based loosely on his real life experiences growing up as a homosexual in a country Western Australian town. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian, - Justin Benson-Cooper / The West Australian Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper

Geraldton-born author Holden Sheppard has seen plenty of success from his debut novel, Invisible Boys. Now the award-winning book is coming to the small screen.

Published in 2018, Invisible Boys is a semi-autobiographical story which follows three young men — Charlie, Zeke and Hammer — struggling with their sexuality growing up in Geraldton.

The 10-part series has now received a $20,000 grant from Screenwest and streaming service Stan to help kick-start production.

“Invisible Boys is a compelling and energetic WA story with a strong creative team behind it — it’s incredibly exciting to see the project move forward through this initiative,” Screenwest drama development manager Barbara Connell said.

In August 2020, Sheppard announced he had sold the TV rights for the coming-of-age novel to producer Tania Chambers and writer Nick Verso. Speaking to Seven West Media after the sale, Sheppard, pictured, said of Verso “He didn’t want to shy away from any of the grittier stories and he is gay himself so I knew he would understand where I am going with this particular story.”

“There’s never been a better time for LGBTQIA+ stories on screen internationally,” Verso said.

“I’m thrilled to be collaborating with such a unique, talented team.”

The novel was published after receiving the City of Fremantle’s Hingerford award in 2018, which grants a publishing contract with Fremantle Press. Since then, it has gone on to win a host of awards, including the WA Premier’s Prize for emerging writers, and the 2019 Kathleen Mitchell award.

“We want this series to be a bold and controversial work, one that speaks to audiences now, in a world where it is still not safe in many places to be a queer teenager,” Chambers said.

“The struggles that can be felt around emerging sexuality are important to come out of the shadows and the special connections we make deserve to be celebrated.”

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