June 23, 2017
Communications Staff
Creative Writing Professor Dan Chaon Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones

Dan Chaon, a New York Times best-selling author, has also signed a deal for two new books.


Dan Chaon, Delaney Professor of Creative Writing, has finalized a deal with Buster Productions as writer, executive producer, and creator of a limited television series based on his 2017 novel Ill Will.

Chaon, a finalist for the National Book Award and author of the New York Times bestseller Await Your Reply, has also signed a major two-book deal with publisher Henry Holt & Co.

Sleepwalk, a contemporary story about a middle-aged loner living off the grid whose life is upended when his biological daughter, whom he's never met, turns up seeking refuge after stumbling into a domestic terrorist plot; and The Men Who Killed, a historical tale involving an orphaned brother and sister who fall in with a gang of South Dakota bandits, were acquired by the publisher following a three-day auction.

Chaon will work with Mike Lombardo, previously president of programming at HBO, in adapting his novel for television. While at HBO, Lombardo oversaw such milestone series as Game of Thrones, Girls, True Detective, and The Leftovers.  

“I'm excited to collaborate with actors, directors, and other writers to see what this project is going to look like,” says Chaon, who is director of the Creative Writing Program at Oberlin. “I'm also excited to be able to share the experience with my students when I teach film and TV writing.”

He anticipates that the novel’s storyline will be changed and expanded. “So much of the novel is in the characters' interior minds, and there will be a lot of work to translate that into dramatic scene. Some parts of the novel won't ultimately work in film, so parts of it will need to be rethought.”

Chaon’s other novels include Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications; the national bestseller Await Your Reply, which was a New York Times Notable Book and appeared on more than a dozen “Best of the Year” lists; and Stay Awake, a finalist for the Story Prize. Ill Will has already received plenty of critical acclaim, with The Washington Post calling it “the scariest novel of the year.”


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