Read these 13 books before they come to the screen
From Queenie to Daisy Jones & The Six and Conversations With Friends, here are the 13 books you’re going to want to read before they hit screens over the next year.
Anyone who’s ever been nervous about seeing their favourite novel being adapted for the screen will agree that adapting books for TV and film is a contentious issue. But this year has given us some brilliant book-to-screen adaptations. Just look at the success of Sally Rooney’s Normal People on BBC Three, season five of Outlander on Amazon and the modern movie retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma.
Yes, books continue to provide inspiration for so many films and series. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the upcoming book-to-screen adaptations that are coming later this year, in 2021 and beyond. Oh, and make sure you add them to your lockdown reading list.
Daisy Jones & The Six
Last year, Reese Witherspoon announced she is adapting the best-selling book, Daisy Jones & The Six.
The book follows the story of lead singer Daisy Jones, who is born into privilege but ignored by her selfish parents. She is a spirited and enigmatic singer/songwriter who comes of age and rises to rock superstardom against the backdrop of the LA music scene in the 1970s.
Riley Keough will play Jones in the Amazon Prime Video limited musical series. Although there isn’t a release date yet, it’s likely to be released in 2021.
Buy Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid at Daunt books, £8.99
Americanah, the award-winning book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is being turned into a mini-series by Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira.
It of course follows the love story between Ifemelu, a bright, young Nigerian woman who shows great academic promise, and an ambitious boy in her class called Obinze. The pair discuss their dreams for the future, and with Nigeria being under military rule, find themselves believing that western cultures may have more to offer.
Sadly, this production is on pause due to coronavirus, and we’re unsure when it will resume. But we know it will be worth the wait when it hits our screens.
Buy Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from Afrori Books, £8.90
Conversations With Friends
For those who fell in love with Normal People, BBC Three is now producing Sally Rooney’s first novel, Conversations With Friends.
It tells the story of two college students – Frances and Bobbi – living in Dublin, who form a complicated connection with an older married couple called Nick and Melissa.
Expect the same dramatic, intimate and beautiful production that we were treated to with Normal People.
Buy Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney from Waterstones, £7.99
The White Tiger
Priyanka Chopra stars in the film adaptation of New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.
It tells the epic and darkly humorous tale of Balram Halwai, a rickshaw driver’s son who ascends from servant to self-made entrepreneur in modern India.
The movie arrives in select UK cinemas and on Netflix in January 2021.
Buy The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga from Foyles, £8.99
The Pursuit Of Love
Lily James, Dominic West and Andrew Scott will lead an all-star cast in a BBC adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s classic novel The Pursuit Of Love.
Set in Europe between the two World Wars, the story follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett, played by James, and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan, played by Emily Beecham.
The series will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK in 2021.
Buy The Pursuit Of Love by Nancy Mitford from Daunt Books, £8.99
Where The Crawdads Sing
Another best-seller being produced by Witherspoon, the film adaptation of Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens will star Daisy Edgar-Jones.
Owens’ novel follows the story of Kya Clark from a young age, when her mother walks out on her family in search of a different life. One by one, Kya’s siblings leave home to escape their abusive father, until he himself disappears one day, leaving Kya to fend for herself in the middle of the marsh. She is forced to adapt and learn to live with her surroundings as she grows up.
A release date is still to be confirmed.
Buy Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens from Hive, £8.15
The Water Dancer
Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt are joining forces to produce best-selling novel The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
The book follows young Hiram Walker who was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.
The film is yet to start production, so we might have a while to wait for this one.
Buy The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates from Afrori Books, £15.90
Anatomy Of A Scandal
Sienna Miller will lead the cast in Netflix’s adaptation of Anatomy Of A Scandal by Sarah Vaughan.
The plot revolves around James, a high-flying Home Office minister whose marriage to Sophie is plunged into crisis after the aide that he has an affair with, Olivia, accuses him of rape.
Casting has only just been announced, but filming should start next year.
Buy Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan from Hive, £7.19
Last year, Candice Carty-Williams let slip to Stylist that her best-selling modern coming-of-age novel Queenie was being adapted for the small screen.
Queenie is a 25-year-old Black woman working on a newspaper in London, whose life starts to unravel when she takes a break from her long-term boyfriend. She sleeps around, isolates herself and makes career-jeopardising decisions. It’s a darkly funny take on millennial life from an underrepresented perspective, and is often very, very close to the bone for its readers.
The series is being produced by Channel 4 and is expected to come out next year.
Buy Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams from London Review Bookshop, £8.99
Cush Jumbo and Sarah Parish will star in a new Netflix eight-part adaptation of Harlan Coben’s thriller Stay Close. It will be produced by Nicola Shindler and Richard Fee, the same team behind hit Netflix thriller The Stranger.
Jumbo takes on the role of Megan, a busy suburban mum whose life is torn apart after Lorraine (Parish), a friend from her past, delivers some shocking news.
Filming for Stay Close will start in early 2021, with an air date for later next year
Buy Stay Close by Harlan Coben from Blackwells, £10.08
Earlier this year, the rights to Naoise Dolan’s 2020 debut, Exciting Times, were snapped up by production company Black Bear Pictures.
Based in Hong Kong, this sharp, witty debut explores a love triangle as newly arrived English teacher Ava finds herself torn between the different worlds offered by non-committal banker Julian and alluring lawyer Edith.
We’ll keep you updated with details when they come.
Buy Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan from News From Nowhere, £13.99
Gemma Arterton is returning to the small screen with an intriguing three-part drama adaptation of the classic 1939 Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden.
The story of sexual repression and forbidden love takes place in 1934 on a remote clifftop palace in the Himalayas, once known as the ‘House of Women’.
Black Narcissus will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK this December.
Buy Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden from Waterstones, £9.99
Nine Perfect Strangers
Big Little Lies fans will love this future adaptation of another Liane Moriarty book: Nine Perfect Strangers.
Set at a remote wellness resort where nine stressed-out strangers go to get on a path to a better way of living, each has their own reasons for visiting from losing weight to getting over heartbreak. Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy are just two of the series’ stars.
The limited series is set to debut on Hulu in 2021.
Buy Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty from Hive, £7.89
Remember to check online independent booksellers and Black-owned bookstores to stock up your reading pile with. Happy reading!
Images: various publishers
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