From The Paper Press to the Small Screen

Normal People by Sally Rooney

By Tom Deignan, Columnist
December / January 2020


The ascension of Sally Rooney from promising young Irish writer to A-list entertainment mogul continues at a breathtaking pace.  The latest proof? A fawning report in Vanity Fair, from the set of the much-buzzed-about TV series based on her book Normal People. The swanky magazine describes Rooney’s novel as a “complex portrait of modern love, touching on class and politics, the lasting effects of trauma, and the limits of communication, whether digital or face-to-face.” Correspondent Keziah Weir adds that Rooney had already been dubbed “the first great millennial novelist” and “Salinger for the Snapchat generation,” following the release of her 2017 debut, Conversations With Friends. Weir continues: “The publication of Normal People in the U.S. earlier this year has only increased the Irish author’s momentum: Her fan base includes Zadie Smith and Taylor Swift, her books spawn dozens of think pieces, and her readings sell out not only bookstores but also concert halls.” Rooney had a hand in writing the screenplays for the Normal People adaptation, with Irish Oscar nominee Lenny Abrahamson directing some episodes. The series, like the book, takes place from 2011 to 2015, and follows the trials and tribulations of an Irish pair of teens, as they move from high school through Trinity College Dublin. Rooney, who has moved from Ireland to New York to work as a Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library, told Vanity Fair: “My favorite scenes from the book generally took the form of conversations between the two protagonists – in abandoned houses, in apartment kitchens, in cars, and in bed. I’m excited to see those dynamics beginning to unfold in a new way on the screen.”Look for Normal People on Hulu and the BBC in 2020. ♦

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