Set in mid-2000s Ireland, it's the millennial love story that made author a household name. Normal People was probably the most talked about (and discussed) book of last year, so we're extremely excited to hear an adaption is coming our TVs very soon.
Who is Sally Rooney?
Sally Rooney is a 28-year-old Irish novelist and Trinity College graduate. Her first book, Conversations With Friends, was published in 2017 and she was soon heralded for being the voice of millennials. Having published two widely recognised and highly successful novels by her mid-20s, it's no wonder she gained enthusiasts with praise from many notable figures, including Zadie Smith and Taylor Swift.
What is Normal People about?
Normal People is Sally Rooney's second book, and is a coming-0f-age novel about the complicated relationship between two teenagers, Connell and Marianne. Set in Dublin, Carricklea and in Trinity College University - where Rooney also lived and attended uni - the book navigates their complicated feelings towards one another.
Rooney alternates between each of their perspective's, which makes the reader feel part of their journey. Connell's Mum is Marianne's Mum's cleaner, and this clear social divide is further complicated as Marianne struggles at school while Connell is very popular.
The duo pretend not to know one another in lessons, but then end up at the same University, where Marianne becomes the popular one and Connell less so. Rooney's writing explores the explosive feelings of first love, the subtleties of class and the complication of friendship.
What awards has Rooney garnered?
The book and Sally herself have gained a lot of awards. It was longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2018, voted as the 2018 Waterstones' Book of the Year, won Best Novel at the 2018 Costa Book Awards, and earlier this year it was longlisted for the for fiction. Rooney was also named The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2017.
Will we be seeing a screen adaptation of Sally Rooney's book?
Yes! The BBC will be adapting the novel into a 12-part-series and it will also be available to watch on streaming platform Hulu. Filming started on Monday.
Who is responsible for the TV version of Normal People?
The series will be co-directed by award-winning TV and theatre director Hettie MacDonald, and Oscar-nominated Lenny Abrahamson (who is also Irish). Abrahamson is best known for Room, an adaptation of Emma Donoghue's book of the same name and the 2004 film Adam&Paul.
Who will be playing Rooney's characters?
Paul Mescal will be playing Connell, in his first acting role. And Marianne will be played by Daisy Edgar-Jones, known for playing Olivia in ITV's Cold Feet alongside James Nesbitt. She has also starred in Outnumbered and Silent Witness.
The BBC have said that Sarah Greene (Dublin Murders and Rosie) and Irish Aislín McGuckin (Outlander) will also be starring. Abrahamson said, 'I have found two young actors who can vividly capture Marianne and Connell and bring alive the profound and beautiful relationship at the centre of the story.'
How does Sally Rooney feel about it?
Good news! She is onboard. The author will be Executive Producer, and writing the adaptation alongside Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe. Speaking to the BBC, Rooney said, 'as a long-time admirer of Lenny Abrahamson’s work, it’s a special privilege for me to be working alongside him on the adaptation of Normal People. I couldn’t be happier with the cast and team we’ve put together, and I’m very excited to watch them bringing new life to the story on screen.'
Where will it be filmed?
Dublin – of course. As well as Sligo and Italy. As Abrahamson told the BBC: 'it’s also lovely for me to be shooting in Ireland again and telling an Irish story.'