Hulu orders adaptation of Sally Rooney’s hit novel ‘Normal People’

"Normal People" by Sally Rooney
“Normal People” by Sally Rooney
(Penguin Random House )

Sally Rooney’s “Normal People,” the novel that became a breakout hit shortly after its American publication in April, is heading to the small screen.

Hulu has ordered a 12-episode adaptation of the novel, Deadline reported. Rooney will serve as an executive producer of the series, which will air in Britain on the BBC.

Beatrice Springborn, vice president of content development for Hulu, said executives of the streaming service were “smitten” by Rooney’s novel.

“This anatomy of a will-they-or-won’t-they romance perfectly and uniquely captures the highs and lows of young true love,” Springborn said.

“Normal People,” the second novel from Irish author Rooney, follows two young people, Connell and Marianne, who form a friendship as teenagers and later attend college together, each getting constantly drawn into the other’s life.


The novel became a bestseller in the U.S. and Britain, and was longlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Some readers have dubbed Rooney, 28, the voice of her generation.

The adaptation of “Normal People” is being written by Rooney, Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe, and directed by Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”) and Hettie Macdonald (“Beautiful Thing”). Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal are starring as Marianne and Connell. Production on the series has already begun.

“As a longtime admirer of Lenny Abrahamson’s work, it’s a special privilege for me to be working alongside him on the adaptation of ‘Normal People,’” Rooney said in a statement. “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.”

Hulu is no stranger to literary adaptations. The streaming service has earned positive reviews for its adaptations of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Lindy West’s “Shrill,” although its recent take on Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22" was met with decidedly mixed reviews.

Hulu recently announced that it will be adapting Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel “Little Fires Everywhere” as a miniseries, starring Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington and Joshua Jackson.

“Normal People” is set to premiere on Hulu and the BBC in 2020.