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6 books by female authors you need to read before they hit our screens

It’s always a point of contention: which is better, book or movie? Make sure you can join the conversation by reading these 6 books by incredible women writers before they hit the big screen.

CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS

Who: Anyone who was as obsessed as we were with Normal People, listen up: BBC Three will be giving us another stellar screen adaptation of Sally Rooney’s work – this time it’s her first novel, Conversations With Friends. 

What: Frances is 21, cool-headed and darkly observant. A college student and aspiring writer, she devotes herself to a life of the mind – and to the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi, her best friend and comrade-in-arms. Lovers at school, the two young women now perform spoken-word poetry together in Dublin, where a journalist named Melissa spots their potential. Drawn into Melissa’s orbit, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband, Nick. But however fun their flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy neither of them expects. 

When: Production of the 12-part series has been delayed by the pandemic, so there remains no confirmed release date for Sally Rooney’s latest foray into television. As things stand, we can expect it to premiere in late 2021. 

Where: Buy Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney from Waterstones, £7.99

NINE PERFECT STRANGERS

Who: From the acclaimed writer of screen sensation Big Little Lies comes our next box set to binge on: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. And the good news just keeps on coming, as Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy have already been confirmed as two of the series’ stars. 

What: Set at a remote wellness resort, we meet nine stressed-out strangers: each on a journey to find a better way of living. For some, it’s to lose weight, others are there to get a reboot on a life that has become decidedly ordinary; some are there for reasons even they can’t admit to themselves. But amid all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, their 10-day stay proves to be a challenge none of them was expecting. 

When: The limited series is set to debut on Hulu in 2021.

Where: You can buy Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty from Hive, £5.99

DAISY JONES & THE SIX

Who: No list of page-to-screen transformations would be complete without mentioning Reese Witherspoon, and last year she announced that she is adapting the best-selling Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. 

What: The book everyone was talking about last year is a gripping story about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break-up. Daisy is a girl coming of age in LA in the late ‘60s – sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. By the time she’s 20 her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

When: Although a release date for the Amazon Prime limited musical series hasn’t been confirmed, it looks all set to be released next year. 

Where: Get your copy of Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid from Daunt books, £8.99

BLACK NARCISSUS

Who: Gemma Arterton returns to the small screen with an intriguing three-part adaptation of the classic novel Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden.

What: This 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’. In the days when it was the General’s harem, ladies with their rich clothes could be seen walking on the high windy terraces. At night, music floated out over villages into the early hours. Now, the General’s son has bestowed it to the disciplined Sisters of Mary. 

When: Black Narcissus will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK this December.

Where: Head to Waterstones for your copy of Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden, £9.99

AMERICANAH

Who: Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira will star in this mini-series based on the award-winning book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 

What: Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years pass before they reunite in a newly-democratic Nigeria and reignite their passion – for each other and for their homeland.

When: Unfortunately COVID restrictions have put a pause on production for this one, too. But we’re confident it’ll be worth the wait.

Where: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is available from Blackwell’s, £8.72

THE PURSUIT OF LOVE

Who: Mamma Mia II’s Lily James is set to lead an all-star cast in a BBC adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s literary classic, The Pursuit of Love. 

What: Mitford’s most enduringly-popular novel, The Pursuit of Love is a classic comedy about growing up and falling in love among the privileged and eccentric. Set in Europe between the two World Wars, the story follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett, who falls first for a stuffy Tory, then an ardent Communist, and finally a French Duke – all seen through the eyes of her best friend and cousin, Fanny Logan.

When: The series will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK in 2021.

Where: Buy The Pursuit Of Love by Nancy Mitford from Daunt Books, £8.99

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