Fiction & Drama
Lisa Rookes on the inspiration behind The Gallows Tree
Congratulations to writer and script editor Nina Millns, whose debut novel Goddesses has been acquired at auction by Bethan Jones at Simon & Schuster UK, for publication in June 2023. Dramatic rights were also optioned at auction by award-winning production company Roughcut TV. Literary and book-to-broadcast agent Hannah Weatherill did the deals for both book and screen rights.
Pitched as Bridesmaids meets Get Out, Goddesses is a bitingly funny novel that explores the power dynamics of activism, the dark side of white feminism and the importance of making your voice heard. It centres on a hen weekend (‘Goddess Retreat’) that takes an exceptionally dark turn, all told through the perspective of Ayesha. She drags best friend, Yaz, along for moral support, but it’s immediately clear that the penis-shaped cake sat in the boot of Ayesha’s car is not the vibe the goddesses are after. While Ayesha tries desperately to get rid of the slowly melting cake and fit herself into a shape that the women will accept, Yaz treats the entire ‘itinerary’ with open disdain. As the weekend’s events get progressively darker, it starts to feel like someone is conspiring to push the friends apart . . . But they’re going to need to stick together if they want to get out alive.
Nina Millns has won several awards for her scripts, her work has been featured on BBC Radio 4, and she has recently written various episodes for the Dr Who audio drama, including an all-female International Women’s Day Special, as well as writing the BBC Sounds series Mortem. Her second play Service was placed in the top 2% of the BBC Scriptroom Drama 2021 and has just won the 2021 ETPEP Award. She is also one of twelve writers on this year’s Channel 4 Screenwriting Course. Nina is a Londoner of mixed heritage who speaks four languages. She comes from a musical family and was named after Nina Simone. She also works with young people as a tutor and mentor and is passionate about helping them fulfil their potential.