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Award-Winning Aussie Novel 'Boy Swallows Universe' Is Coming to the Brisbane Stage

It will world premiere at Brisbane Festival in 2020.
By Samantha Teague
May 27, 2019
By Samantha Teague
May 27, 2019

Set in the backstreets of suburban Brisbane, Trent Dalton's award-winning 2018 novel Boy Swallows Universe is destined to become an Aussie classic. It follows a young boy, his prophetic brother and his jailbreaking best friend as they navigate the heroin-filled underworld of 80s Queensland. And it's about to come to life on the stage.

In September 2020, the stage version of the novel will world premiere in Brisbane. It'll be a co-production between Queensland Theatre and Brisbane Festival, with the former's Artistic Director Sam Strong directing the adaptation, which will be written by playwright Tim McGarry.

Brisbane-born author Dalton said in a statement it was only fitting that the stage show should premiere in his hometown, "It was the people of Brisbane who took that wild, strange book and ran with it first and that book belongs to them now and this production will belong to them, too."

It has not yet been revealed if the stage show will then travel to interstate theatres, but we'll keep our fingers crossed — and let you know if it does.

Boy Swallows Universe has snagged a slew of local awards, including Book of the Year, Literary Book of the Year and Audio Book of the Year at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards. The novel, which has sold 160,000 copies in Australia alone, has also been longlisted for Australia's most prestigious literature prize, the Miles Franklin Award. The winners will be announced on July 30.

Fans of the novel will be excited to hear that it won't stop at the stage, either — Boy Swallows Universe is also destined for the small screen. Last week, it was announced that Harper Collins had sold the television rights to the novel, with Australian actor and director Joel Edgerton (who recently wrote, directed and produced Boy Erased) set to produce the show alongside Dalton as executive producer.

Boy Swallows Universe will world premiere in Brisbane in September 2020 as part of Brisbane Festival. You can sign-up to receive updates from Queensland Theatre here.

Top image: Trent Dalton and Sam Strong by Luke Marsden.

Published on May 27, 2019 by Samantha Teague
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