Síne Quinn reveals how a discussion at Books for Screen led to new life for Invisible Threads
by Síne Quinn
At last year’s Publishing Ireland Trade Day event, Books for Screen, I was wrestling with imposter syndrome and simultaneously bursting to show our new titles to a room filled with film and documentary makers.
I am passionate about these books and the stories they tell, and I think they are perfect for the transition from page to screen. I presented five titles—but the one that received the most attention was Invisible Threads by Marguerite Mac Curtin.
I am passionate about these books and the stories they tell, and I think they are perfect for the transition from page to screen
This is a book that has remained with me ever since I read it as a proposal in 2020. At the time I worked for Cubicle 7 Entertainment (a gaming company), so could only offer advice to Marguerite to send her stories to other publishers—with the hope that one of them would feel as strongly as I did about them.
‘Later I realised that this was the most powerful moment of the journey for me. Here I was, a stranger who had wandered in from the Tibetan plateau in the need of shelter and comfort, and I was offered both in abundance. We had no word in common but without the benefit of language it is the non-verbals that click into place: body language, gesture, mime, eye contact, facial expressions, basic intuition. The condition of being human is universal I discovered and the underlying impulse to reach out and connect transcends the barriers of race, language and geographical location.’
The stories seemed to take on a life of their own; they transported me straight from our attic room in a red-brick Edwardian house to far-flung places. Invisible Threads is more than one portal; it is a cabinet of curiosities with many doors, each opening to another world. Marguerite has travelled the seven continents, and these stories are heart-breaking, adventurous, and remarkable.
It was tragic and incredible, and deserved more attention than I could give it
In each story I was beside Marguerite, observing her in awe and disbelief. In particular, “The Letter” was a narrative I could not forget. It was tragic and incredible, and deserved more attention than I could give it.
When I started my new job and we set up Beehive Books, our general-interest imprint, Invisible Threads was one of the first books we published. The story had haunted me, but now I had a way of giving it the respect and the attention it deserved.
After the Books for Screen event a number of producers approached me. We had interesting discussions and it was wonderful to meet people who are just as passionate about stories and the people behind them, but for a different medium. Documentary director Finn van Gelderen, Overcoat Films, was just as hooked by “The Letter” as I was.
I pitched Marguerite herself, as well as her collection of stories, as ideal for screen. She is mesmeric, ebullient and articulate. Finn came to the launch of her collection and was just as struck by her.
In Finn’s safe hands I am assured that Marguerite and her stories will be on our screens at the right time
A year later, the book is still getting attention with strong reviews. In November 2023 it features in The Gloss magazine. Finn and Marguerite have plans for a show. Timelines are longer in the world of film and TV, but in Finn’s safe hands I am assured that Marguerite and her stories will be on our screens at the right time.