Prague-based production company Cineart is developing an adaptation of acclaimed novel The Cowards by Czech writer Josef Skvorecky.

Vladimir Michalek, who was awarded 10 Czech Lions for his 1998 Sekal Has To Die, is writing and will direct the project which is scheduled to start shooting in May 2001. Czech Television is co-producing and tipping in a third of the project's $900,000 (CzK34m) budget.

Skvorecky, an emigre living in Toronto, founded Publishers 68 which published novels banned by Czechoslovakia's communist regime. The Cowards was written in 1958 about the 1945 Communist revolution, but wasn't published until 1958.