BBC to Adapt Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends

Author Sally Rooney became best known for her award-winning 2018 novel Normal People which won the Waterstones Book of the Year, Costa Book Award for the Novel category and ‘Irish Novel of the Year’ at the Irish Book Awards. Following its success, Normal People was adapted by BBC3 and Hulu with Irish director Lenny Abrahamson for a 12-part series which will air in the UK this Spring. Now, the BBC is collaborating once more with Lenny Abrahamson and Element Pictures to adapt Rooney’s 2017 novel, Conversations with Friends, for the small screen too.

Director Lenny Abrahamson explained, “I love Conversations With Friends, its depth, humour and freshness, and it’s an honour to be involved in bringing it to the screen. I’m particularly happy that my connection to Sally and her work is set to continue. Making Normal People has been a singular pleasure and I’m excited to be working with the same brilliant team again on Conversations With Friends.”

This adaptation of Rooney’s novel will also see writer Alice Birch, who worked on Normal People, return to write on some of the episodes of Conversations with Friends, with more writers to be announced soon.

Conversations with Friends was Rooney’s début novel, published in 2017. The book is, unsurprisingly, set in Dublin and it tells the story of two college students, Frances and Bobbi, and the unexpected and strange connection they forge with Melissa and Nick, a married couple.

Regarding the adaptation of her novel, Sally Rooney said: “I am so pleased to be working with the team at Element, Lenny Abrahamson and the BBC to produce an adaptation of Conversations With Friends. I’m confident we’re going to find fresh and interesting ways of dramatising the novel’s dynamics, and I’m excited to watch the process take shape‎.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, stated, “We are all addicted to Sally Rooney’s writing and will plunder her literary canon as long as she is writing. And so, on the back of the taut and tangled Normal People we are delighted that Sally has entrusted us, and the wonderfully talented people at Element Pictures, with her debut novel Conversations With Friends. To top it all Lenny Abrahamson has agreed to continue his association with Sally to direct.”

While Ed Guiney, from Element Pictures, added: “The team at Element have nurtured a burning ambition to bring Conversations With Friends to the screen ever since we first read it. We could not be more excited to be working once again with Sally, Lenny, Alice and our friends at the BBC on the adaptation of this utterly exceptional and enthralling novel.”

Conversations with Friends has been commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama and Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three. It will be produced by Elements Pictures and executive produced by Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Emma Norton, Lenny Abrahamson, Rose Garnett, Tommy Bulfin, and the author herself Sally Rooney for the BBC.

So far there is no news on cast or filming dates, however, the BBC press release states that these details will be released in due course, so we will keep you updated as more information is released.

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