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Filmmaker Sarah Polley in 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)

It seems TV execs can’t get enough of author Margaret Atwood nowadays. First Hulu ordered a 10-part adaptation of her 1985 dystopian novel A Handmaid’s Tale starring Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss in the lead role, and now next up to get the small screen treatment is Alias Grace, her 1996 Booker Prize-nominated novel about a 19th-century murder.

Variety reports that Sarah Polley, the writer and director behind recent films such as Away From Her (which starred Julie Christie and Olympia Dukakis) and Save the Waltz starring Michelle Williams, has adapted the 470-page book into a six-hour miniseries.

Also behind the adaptation are producer Noreen Halpern (Working the Engels) and director Mary Harron (American Psycho), creating a triumvirate of women rarely seen at the top of a major series.

Add to that a fascinating female protagonist in the form of Grace Marks, a real-life servant in 19th-century Canada who was convicted of the murder of her employer and a housekeeper. In the book, while in jail awaiting her execution, she meets young doctor Simon Jordan, who researches her case and becomes convinced of her innocence, falling in love with her in the process.

Polley describes Grace as “the most complex, riveting character I have ever read,” though there’s no word yet on who’ll play her. Meanwhile director Harron makes an intriguing comparison with the recent spate of popular shows that deal with real-life murders, saying it “combines the richness of period drama with the tension and mystery of a modern-day Serial.” And if that doesn’t get your crinoline rustling, we don’t know what does.

Alias Grace will be broadcast on Canada’s CBC network and available on Netflix for the rest of us.

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.