Normal People

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Normal People
Normal People (Rooney novel).png
First edition cover
AuthorSally Rooney
Audio read byAoife McMahon
Set inDublin and Carricklea, County Sligo[1]
PublisherFaber & Faber
Publication date
Media typePrint
Awards2019 British Book Award for Book of the Year[2]
LC ClassPR6118.O59 N67 2018

Normal People is a 2018 novel by Irish author Sally Rooney. It is her second novel to be published, after Conversations with Friends (2017). It became a best-seller in the US, selling almost 64,000 copies in hardcover in its first four months of release.[3] A well-received television adaptation aired from April 2020.


The novel is about the complex friendship and relationship between two teenagers, Connell and Marianne, who both attend the same secondary school in County Sligo and, later, Trinity College Dublin (TCD). It is set during the post-2008 Irish economic downturn. Connell is a popular, handsome and highly intelligent secondary school student who begins a relationship with unpopular, intimidating yet equally intelligent Marianne, whose mother employs his mother as a cleaner. Connell keeps the affair a secret from school friends out of shame but ends up attending Trinity with her after the summer and reconciling. Well-off Marianne blossoms at university, becoming pretty and popular, while Connell struggles for the first time in his life to fit in properly. The pair weave in and out of each other's lives across their university years, developing an intense bond that brings to light the traumas and insecurities that make them both who they are.


The novel was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.[4] It was voted as the 2018 Waterstones' Book of the Year[5] and won "Best Novel" at the 2018 Costa Book Awards.[6] In 2019, it was longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction.[7] In the same year, the novel was ranked 25th on The Guardian's list of the 100 best books of the 21st century.[8] Media in Ireland described the book as a polemic, noting that Rooney has described herself as a Marxist and that the book features discussions about The Communist Manifesto document and Doris Lessing's feminist novel The Golden Notebook.[9]


In May 2019, BBC Three and Hulu announced that a TV series based on the novel, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal as Marianne and Connell respectively, was to be produced.[10] It premiered on 26 April 2020 on BBC Three and 27 April 2020 on Australian streaming service Stan.[11] In Ireland, the series began airing on RTÉ One on 28 April.


  1. ^ Hagan, Rachel (31 May 2019). "The BBC Unveils Plans For Adaptation Of Normal People By Sally Rooney". Elle. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Sally Rooney's Normal People wins big at British Book Awards". BBC News. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  3. ^ Grady, Constance (2019-09-03). "The cult of Sally Rooney". Vox. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  4. ^ Flood, Alison (23 July 2018). "Man Booker prize 2018 longlist includes graphic novel for the first time". The Guardian.
  5. ^ "Love story Normal People is Waterstones' book of the year". BBC News. 29 November 2018.
  6. ^ "The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es named Costa Book of the Year 2018". Front Row. BBC Radio 4.
  7. ^ "Announcing the Women's Prize 2019 Longlist". Women's Prize for Fiction. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  8. ^ "The 100 best books of the 21st century". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  9. ^ "It's Marianne's fault we can't get a government to satisfy Normal People". Irish Independent. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020. The author of Normal People is a self-professed Marxist... her politics seeps through her writing. It's no accident the central protagonists of the book that has captured the nation's imagination are the rich girl living in the mansion and the poor boy whose mother works as her family's cleaner. The TV version glosses over the discussions around 'The Communist Manifesto' and the feminist bible 'The Golden Notebook'.
  10. ^ "Hulu Orders New Series: "Normal People"". The Futon Critic. 30 May 2019.
  11. ^ "An adaptation of Sally Rooney's novel 'Normal People' is heading to Stan". Time Out Melbourne. Retrieved 2020-04-07.

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