Jeanette Winterson’s novella centres on a 17th century witch trial.

Hammer has acquired the film rights to Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate, the novella released under the Arrow Books Hammer imprint from Random House in August 2012.

The deal is part of Hammer’s ongoing strategy to develop projects created by its literary and theatrical deals.

Set in the early 17th century, The Daylight Gate is based on the notorious Pendle Witch Trial and comprises magic, superstition and murder. 

Winterson said: “I was interested to take the Hammer novella commission to write a good story around the notorious Pendle witch trials of 1612. Now I am intrigued and excited to see what new form these ghosts can inhabit. Stories from the past are always present; it is our imaginations that make it so.”

The announcement was made by Simon Oakes, vice chairman of Exclusive Media and Hammer Films’ president and CEO.

Hammer, owned by Exclusive Media, generated more than $130m at the global box office with The Woman in Black in 2012. Sequel The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, set 40 years later, begins production in November 2013.

Hammer’s next film release will be The Quiet Ones starring Jared Harris and Sam Claflin. 

In addition to The Daylight Gate, other recent books published under the Arrow Books Hammer imprint from Random House include Sophie Hannah’s The Orphan Choir and Julie Myerson’s The Quickening.

Hammer recently diversified into live theatre, launching Hammer Theatre of Horror.  Hammer’s first theatre project was ‘The Turn of the Screw’ production, based on the classic ghost tale by Henry James, which ran at London’s Almeida Theatre until March 2013 starring Anna Madeley and Gemma Jones.

In late 2012, Hammer also signed a deal with Paragon Entertainment to develop, build and operate a series of UK based ‘Hammer House of Horror’ visitor attractions.