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Sally Rooney's Normal People to be adapted for BBC television

Lenny Abrahamson is set to direct the programme. Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman is also to co-produce a TV series based on Cecelia Ahern’s book Roar.

Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney
Image: Element Pictures

SALLY ROONEY’S UPCOMING book Normal People is set to be adapted for BBC television.

Rooney will adapt the novel for the programme which is set to be directed by Lenny Abrahamson and produced by Element Pictures.

Normal People follows the story of Marianne and Connell, two people from a small town in the west of Ireland from very different backgrounds who embark on an on-off romance.

The book is due to be released later this month and was recently longlisted for the 2018 Booker Prize. Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends, was released in May 2017.

Rooney said she’s “looking forward to the challenge of working in a new form, and of thinking about these characters and their lives in new ways”.

‘Beautifully crafted’

Abrahamson is best known for directing films such as the Oscar-winning Room. Element Pictures produced Room, as well as The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Lobster.

Speaking about today’s announcement, he 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”.

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, said Normal People is “a beautifully crafted story based on a journey of love and friendship”, adding:

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.

Rooney won the 2017 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. Conversations with Friends was the Guardian, Observer, Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard’s Book of the Year last year.

Nicole Kidman to produce Cecelia Ahern adaptation

Cecelia Ahern-MT-0155 copy Cecelia Ahern

In other news of Irish books being adapted for the screen, it has also been announced that there will be a television series adaptation of Cecelia Ahern’s short story collection Roar.

Nicole Kidman will produce alongside Per Saari, Bruna Papandrea and Theresa Park. The book will be published in November 2018 here and in April 2019 in the US. The series is being developed in partnership with Endeavour Content.

Roar is described as:

…a compilation of 30 insightful, moving and humorous short stories. Each story in the multifaceted collection features a woman exploring a different absurd contradiction or issue in her life – a sometimes comic, always moving look at the guilt, joys, humiliation and triumphs that define the modern woman’s experience, including the private moments when she feels the need to roar (I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar – Helen Reddy).

The executive producers and showrunners on the series are Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, the co-creators and showrunners of the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated Netflix series Glow.

Ahern will serve as an executive producer. “I’m incredibly honoured to be working with this phenomenal team in bringing ROAR from the page to the screen,” said Ahern. “The women in this collection have lived and breathed with me for so very long, I’m excited to begin the next journey of amplifying their voices.”

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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