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Conversations with Friends: the new Sally Rooney TV drama you need to know about

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Hollie Richardson
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Raced through Normal People already?  A new TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s first novel, Conversations With Friends, promises further treats on the horizon.

Normal People is the kind of compulsive, brilliantly told coming-of-age drama that gets under your skin and stays there for weeks to come. 

The BBC’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel has been the talk of the TV world in recent weeks, opening up the author’s deceptively simple style of storytelling to a whole new legion of fans.

A stellar cast led by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal have teased out elements of love, hurt, friendship and desire layered within Rooney’s story to create an unmissable TV fix.

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But if you’ve already romped your way through the 12-part series on BBC iPlayer, fear not: there are more delights to come. 

BBC Three is now eyeing up a fresh adaptation of Rooney’s first novel, Conversations with Friends. The book was published in 2017 and helped secure Rooney’s reputation as “the first great millennial author” and the “voice of a generation”.

Conversations with Friends is not related to the storyline of Normal People at all, although both explore similar themes of love, hurt, friendship and desire. Here’s everything we know about the new drama so far:

Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friend
Sally Rooney's first novel Conversations With Friends won rave reviews

What is Conversations with Friends about?

Conversations with Friends 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. Despite their obvious differences, the foursome quickly embark on a “complex ménage-à-quatre” that’s played out in a world of glamorous dinner parties, beautiful homes and holidays to Provence.  But the strange new dynamic quickly shines a light on vulnerabilities no-one saw coming. 

Rooney wrote the book while studying for her master’s degree in American literature. Published in 2017 to rave reviews after a seven-party auction for the publishing rights, it was nominated for the 2018 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize and the 2018 Folio Prize.

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Is there any link between Normal People and Conversations with Friends?

No, the storyline of Conversations with Friends is not related to Normal People, although both come with the imprint of Rooney’s inimitable storytelling style. 

Normal People co-producer Ed Guiney says this upcoming adaptation will come in the place of a sequel to our current TV obsession. 

“We’ve turned our attention – we’re adapting Conversations with Friends as a television series,” he said in a recent interview, adding that “maybe down the line we’ll come back to Connell and Marianne [from Normal People]”.

Conversation With Friends picks up on a separate storyline to Normal People, although it explores similar themes

Who will direct Conversations with Friends?

Conversations with Friends will run under Element Pictures, the same production company that took the helm for Normal People. Lenny Abrahamson, who co-directed the hit BBC drama along with Hettie Macdonald, will once again take the director’s seat for the new series.  He previously earned an Oscar nomination for 2015’s Room (starring Brie Larson),

“I love Conversations with Friends, its depth, humour and freshness, and it’s an honour to be involved in bringing it to the screen,” Abrahamson said. “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.”

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Speaking about the production, Rooney added: “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.”

Who will star in Conversations with Friends?

There’s no confirmation on any cast members yet – watch this space.

Author Sally Rooney says she's excited to see the new TV series take shape

When and where will Conversations with Friends be released?

Conversations with Friends will consist of 12 half-hour episodes and air on BBC Three, but we’ll have to wait for a release date. It may well be that production on the series is held up due to the current coronavirus situation.

It’s a good job we have Normal People to binge in the meantime.

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Images: Getty, BBC, Faber & Faber

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…