We are thrilled to announce that award-winning Vancouver-based author Chelene Knight’s novel JUNIE will be developed into a 10-episode television series!

This is the first episodic television series under the newly-formed Akilla Express banner by acclaimed Vancouver-based Indian-Canadian actor-producer Praneet Akilla (Skymed, Motherland Fort Salem).

JUNIE (the series) will be adapted by celebrated screenwriter Priscilla White (The Porter, Diggstown), as an inter-provincial co-production produced by Akilla Express’s Praneet Akilla, and 100 Dragon’s veteran producer Teresa M. Ho (Frankie Drake

Mysteries, Hello (Again)). It is at the pre-development stage with the support of IP BC Pilot Program (a partnership between Creative BC and the Canadian Media Producers Association, BC Producers Branch (CMPA-BC)).

JUNIE is a riveting exploration of the complexity within mother-daughter relationships and the vitality of Vancouver’s former Hogan’s Alley neighbourhood. It is told through the fascinating lens of a bright woman in an oft-disquieting world, JUNIE is intimate and urgent—not just an unflinching look at the destruction of a vibrant community, but a celebration of the Black lives within.

“When Teresa M. Ho brought this project to me at the NSI EAVE Producers Program, I immediately said ‘yes’ to being the lead producer. I was transported back to Hogan’s Alley by Chelene Knight’s breathtaking novel and was excited to share the stories about Black joy, love and friendship in a series format. JUNIE showcases the pulsing day-to-day life of a once thriving Vancouver neighbourhood crucial to Black-Canadian history,” says JUNIE’s lead Producer Praneet Akilla.

“When 100 Dragons was introduced the story of “Junie”, at Ontario Creates’ 2022 Page to Screen, I envisioned a continuation of the work I had started during my time on FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES; telling of the story of Canadians who have been overlooked in history. Through the adaptation of this book, we celebrate the stories of women who have been forgotten in historical fiction. Telling stories of complexity, beauty and heart of Black and Racialized women that have been missing on our screens, we hope to secure a Canadian Broadcasting Partner who matches our vision of an inclusive Canadian screen,” adds JUNIE’s Producer Teresa M. Ho.

“As the author of the novel, I’m thrilled to be brought on to team JUNIE as a consulting producer. Having Junie adapted into a television series will help to highlight an important part of Vancouver’s history. It is my hope that this series showcases the complexity of home, belonging, and being Black in Vancouver,” comments Author of “Junie” Chelene Knight.

“Junie” was longlisted for the inaugural Carol Shields Prize for Fiction and is a finalist for the 2023 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction. The audiobook edition of “Junie” will be available May 15, 2023 by publisher Book*hug Press. “Junie” can be purchased or ordered from all independent and chain booksellers or directly from the publisher, Book*hug Press. It is also available in electronic formats, including ePub and audiobook versions, wherever digital books are sold or accessed. 

100 Dragons President Teresa M. Ho and 100 Dragons Development Executive Christine Tyson discovered “Junie” at Ontario Creates’ 2022 Page to Screen where they met Co-Publisher Jay MillAr from Book*hug Press. To honour the authenticity of JUNIE (the series) being set in Vancouver, Ho and Tyson sought out the collaboration of Vancouver-based lead Producer Praneet Akilla at Akilla Express.

Chelene Knight is represented by Samantha J. Haywood.

Producers Praneet Akilla and Teresa M. Ho negotiated the book option with Samantha J. Haywood at Transatlantic Agency.