Professor's Young Adult Book Series is Optioned for Animation

Steeplejack book cover
Monday, August 17, 2020
Andrew Hartley's "Steeplejack" trilogy has won attention and awards.

The animation studio OddBot Inc. has optioned the three books of theatre professor Andrew Hartley's Steeplejack trilogy for development as a limited TV series or movie. The trio of young adult fantasy/adventure novels are set in the 19th century in a fictional land similar to South Africa and feature a courageous teen-aged heroine.

 “We’re excited to be working with A.J. Hartley to bring his Steeplejack novels to television,” said Fred Schaefer, OddBot Executive Producer,  in a press release. “Animation is the perfect medium to capture the scope and beauty of the stories he’s written—from the magnificent Victorian-era city of Bar-Selehm, to a headstrong, complex hero, Anglet Sutonga, Hartley has created a trilogy that combines adventure, mystery, and social justice. We’re thrilled to be on board.” OddBot specializes in crafting original stories and characters, short-form content, and full-series animation for high-profile studios including Disney, Nickelodeon and DreamWorks.

Published in 2016 by Tor/MacMillan, Steeplejack won both the 2017 International Thriller Writers Award for “Best Young Adult Novel” and the 2017 Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy. The two following books, Firebrand and Guardian, both received positive reviews. Noma Dumezweni, the African-born English actress who made headlines as Hermione Granger in the London West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, narrated the audiobook versions for all three novels.

Hartley is the Robinson Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare in the Department of Theatre, where he teaches Renaissance theatre history and Shakespeare. This fall, he will direct the theatre department production of Julius Caesar. As A.J. Hartley he is also the bestselling author of 23 mystery, thriller, and fantasy novels for children and adults. His most recent novel is Impervious, a response to the April 30, 2019 shooting on the UNC Charlotte campus.