Sally Rooney is set to adapt the novel herself for BBC3 directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Room, Frank) and produced by Element Pictures (Room, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster). The book has recently been long listed for the 2018 Booker Prize. Normal People’s publication comes just 18 months after Sally’s hugely successful debut, Conversations with Friends.
Normal People is an exquisite, modern love story about how one person can unexpectedly change another person’s life and about how complicated intimacy can be. Over several years, we follow Marianne and Connell – both from a small west of Ireland town, but from very different backgrounds – as they embark on an on-off romance that starts at school and continues through college, as they test their relationship, experiment with other partners and explore different versions of themselves.
The book is full of all the awkwardness, humour and confusion that accompanies love and sex and offers the opportunity to make a television show about being young that is frank, smart and intoxicating.
Sally Rooney, says: “I feel very privileged to be working with such an extraordinary team on the adaptation of “Normal People.” I’m looking forward to the challenge of working in a new form, and of thinking about these characters and their lives in new ways.”
Normal People will be directed by Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson who said: “Sally is a writer of the highest calibre and in ‘Normal People’ she captures the ebb and flow of intimacy and desire with extraordinary skill. I’m proud to be part of bringing her work to the screen audience it deserves.”
Ed Guiney of Element Pictures, says “Sally’s novel is a beautifully written, utterly beguiling exploration of an incredibly intense love story, the subtlety and specificity of which is breathtaking. There is no better film maker than Lenny Abrahamson to realise its potential for the screen. We are delighted to help bring this brilliant project to life.”
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “Sally is one of the most engaging young writers of her generation and the BBC is thrilled to be working with her on her first piece for television. Normal People is a beautifully crafted story based on a journey of love and friendship, and it has been an absolute privilege to read Sally’s forthcoming novel ahead of publication and see how she has started to adapt this coming of age story for BBC Three.”
Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three, adds: “At BBC Three we are 100% committed to providing a platform for fresh contemporary new voices like Sally Rooney. Her new novel Normal People is a wonderfully brilliant depiction of young love, friendship and the journey towards adulthood and I cannot wait to see how Sally, Lenny Ed and the team bring it to life on screen for the BBC Three audience.”
Winner of the 2017 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, Sally Rooney’s debut novel Conversations with Friends was the Guardian, Observer, Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard’s Book of the Year, alongside one of Vogue’s 10 Best Books of 2017. Normal People will be published by Faber & Faber in September 2018.
Normal People will be produced by Element Pictures for BBC Three.
Filming dates and casting will be announced in due course.