Justin Chadwick will direct a feature adaptation of by Stef Penney's Costa Prize-winning novel The Tenderness Of Wolves.

Chadwick is writing the script and will direct the film for Film4 and Target Entertainment Group. Production is set to begin next year on the project, which was developed by Film4's Katherine Butler. Kate McCreery at Target Entertainment is producing and Film4 chief Tessa Ross will serve as executive producer.

The story takes place in 1867 in a small frontier town in Canada where a man is brutally murdered the same day a boy goes missing, forcing the youngster's mother to head into the wilderness in an effort to clear her son's name.

MBA Literary agent Diana Tyler struck the option deal and the novel has already sold to more than 30 territories around the world.

Target is also developing a number of other literary adaptations including a big screen version of Dan Mills' Sniper One novel, Geoff Nicolson's Bleeding London and Kfir Yefet's The Smell Of Apples from Mark Behr's debut novel.

Target's first feature film, the political thriller Endgame starring William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jonny Lee Miller and Mark Strong, will screen in the Premiere section at Sundance in January.