Sally Rooney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sally Rooney
Born (1991-02-20) 20 February 1991 (age 32)
Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland
EducationTrinity College Dublin
Notable worksConversations with Friends (2017)
Normal People (2018)
Beautiful World, Where Are You (2021)
Notable awards2017 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year
Sally Rooney Signature.svg

Sally Rooney (born 20 February 1991) is an Irish author and screenwriter. She has published three novels: Conversations with Friends (2017), Normal People (2018), and Beautiful World, Where Are You (2021). Both Normal People and Conversations with Friends were adapted into television series by Hulu, RTÉ, Screen Ireland and the BBC, in 2020 and 2022, respectively. Rooney's work has garnered critical acclaim and commercial success, and she is regarded as one of the foremost millennial writers.[1][2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Rooney was born in Castlebar, County Mayo,[4] in 1991, where she also grew up[5] and lives today, after studying in Dublin and a stint in New York City.[6] Her father, Kieran Rooney, worked for Telecom Éireann and her mother, Marie Farrell, ran an arts centre.[5][7][8] Rooney has an older brother and a younger sister.[5] She studied English at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), where she was elected a scholar in 2011.[9] She started (but did not complete) a master's degree in politics there, completing a degree in American literature instead, and graduated with an MA in 2013.[10]

While attending Trinity College Dublin, Rooney was a university debater and eventually became the top debater at the European Universities Debating Championships in 2013,[11][12] later writing of the experience.[13] Before becoming a writer, she worked for a restaurant in an administrative role.[14][15]


Early career[edit]

Rooney completed her first novel—which she has described as "absolute trash"—at the age of 15.[16] Her first published work was two poems in The Stinging Fly, submitted to the magazine when she was still in secondary school.[17] She began writing "constantly" in late 2014. She completed her debut novel, Conversations with Friends, while studying for her master's degree in American literature. She wrote 100,000 words of the book in three months.[16]

In 2015, her essay "Even If You Beat Me", about her time as the "top competitive debater on the continent of Europe", was seen by an agent, Tracy Bohan, of the Wylie Agency, and Bohan contacted Rooney. Rooney gave Bohan a manuscript, and Bohan circulated it to publishers, receiving seven bids.[8][18][19]

She had seen my story and wondered whether I had anything else she could read... But I didn’t send her anything for ages... I don’t know why. I didn't want her to see this shoddy draft.[14]

Conversations with Friends (2017)[edit]

Rooney signed with Tracy Bohan of the Wylie Agency, and Conversations with Friends was subject to a seven-party auction for its publishing rights, which were eventually sold in 12 countries.[20][14] The novel was published in June 2017 by Faber and Faber. It was nominated for the 2018 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize,[21] and the 2018 Folio Prize, and won the 2017 Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award.[22][23]

In March 2017, her short story "Mr Salary" was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.[24] In November 2017, Rooney was announced as editor of the Irish literary magazine The Stinging Fly.[25] She was a contributing writer to the magazine.[26] She oversaw the magazine's two issues in 2018, before handing the editorship over to Danny Denton. She remains a contributing editor to the magazine.[27]

In 2018, Rooney was announced as taking part in the Cúirt International Festival of Literature.[28]

Normal People (2018)[edit]

Rooney's second novel, Normal People, was published in September 2018, also by Faber & Faber.[29][30] The novel grew out of Rooney's exploration of the history between the two main characters of her short story "At the Clinic", which was first published in London-based literary magazine The White Review in 2016.[31][32] In July 2018, Normal People was longlisted for that year's Man Booker Prize.[33] On 27 November 2018, the work won "Irish Novel of the Year" at the Irish Book Awards[34] and was named Waterstones' Book of the Year for 2018.[35] In January 2019, it won the Costa Book Award (formerly the Whitbread) for the Novel category.[36][37] It was longlisted for the 2019 Dylan Thomas Prize[38] and the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction.[39] It has been translated into 46 languages and earned praise from Barack Obama and Taylor Swift, among others.[6]

Television adaptations[edit]

Normal People was made into a 12-part series as a co-production of BBC Three and the online platform Hulu, with filming taking place in Dublin and County Sligo.[40] The series was directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald. Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal played Marianne and Connell, respectively. The series was a critical success and earned four Primetime Emmy Award nominations including for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series.[41]

In May 2022, the novel Conversations with Friends was also made into a 12-episode BBC Three/Hulu miniseries,[42][43] with the same creative team that was behind Normal People. Director Lenny Abrahamson and co-writer Alice Birch worked on this adaptation, too.[44][45]

Beautiful World, Where Are You (2021)[edit]

In April 2019, the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers announced its 2019 class of fellows, which included Rooney. The press release stated, "she will be writing a new novel under the working title Beautiful World, Where Are You, examining aesthetics and political crisis."[46] The novel was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the United States and by Faber in the UK and Ireland in September 2021.[47][48][49]

Political views[edit]

Rooney describes herself as a feminist and a Marxist;[50][51][6] both her parents are socialists and they instilled socialist values in Rooney.[52][53]

Rooney has said that her work has a Marxist character.[54] Some literary critics have criticised this aspect: Madeleine Schwartz of The New York Review of Books has said of Rooney's works that "the politics are mostly gestural";[55] Becca Rothfeld of the literary magazine The Point wrote that Rooney's Marxism is no more than "fashionable posturing" and called her work "sanctimony literature" that is "full of self-promotion and the airing of performatively righteous opinions".[55] Cody Delistraty, writing for Vulture, has unfavourably compared the anti-capitalist politics of Rooney's work to contemporary novelists such as Halle Butler, Tony Tulathimutte, and Ling Ma, opining that Rooney's characters ultimately simply accept the capitalist status quo rather than challenging it.[56]

The ending of Normal People, in which the working-class Connell emigrates to New York City to begin a creative writing course at New York University, was mocked by some critics as a "bourgeois" fantasy.[57] Rooney retorted that those critics misunderstand class dynamics:

From the Marxist point of view, people who work for a living rather than making money from capital are workers, members of the working class. But in contemporary colloquial use, the term "working class" is used much more restrictively, applied only to particular communities or workers in particular industries. These uses of the term are really not interchangeable at all. They mean very different things. So of course, when we try to talk about class using this terminology, we run into confusion and disagreement.[57]

The feminist themes in Rooney's works have made them popular in China, where they are considered best sellers.[58][59]

During the referendum on the legality of abortion in Ireland held in 2018, Rooney campaigned for a Yes vote.[8]

Views on Israel[edit]

Rooney declined an offer from an Israeli publisher to translate Beautiful World, Where Are You into Hebrew, citing her support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.[60][61] In October 2021, she said, "The Hebrew-language translation rights to my new novel are still available, and if I can find a way to sell these rights that is compliant with the BDS movement's institutional boycott guidelines, I will be very pleased and proud to do so".[62] In retaliation, two Israeli bookshop chains announced a withdrawal of all of Rooney's titles from their shelves in early November.[63] Rooney's Israeli publisher said it would continue selling her titles.[64] Subsequently, in a letter organized by Artists for Palestine UK, 70 writers and publishers, including Kevin Barry, Rachel Kushner, Geoff Dyer, Pankaj Mishra, Carmen Callil, and Ahdaf Soueif, said they supported Rooney’s decision.[65]


Year Title Role Notes
2020 Normal People Writer / executive producer 12 episodes: Hulu & BBC Three
2022 Conversations with Friends Executive producer 12 episodes: Hulu & BBC Three



  • Conversations with Friends. London: Faber and Faber. 2017. ISBN 9780571333127.
  • Normal People. London: Faber and Faber. 2018. ISBN 9780571334643.
  • Beautiful World, Where Are You. London: Faber and Faber. 2021. ISBN 9780571365425.

Short fiction[edit]

(First published in Granta 135: New Irish Writing Fiction 19 April 2016.)[75][76]
(Also published in Being Various: New Irish Short Stories. London: Faber and Faber. 2019. ISBN 9780571342501.)[78]




Book reviews[edit]


"Sally Rooney’s 2017 “Conversations With Friends,” widely heralded as the first great novel of millennial life"


Personal life[edit]

Rooney lives in her childhood hometown of Castlebar and is married to John Prasifka, a mathematics teacher.[6][92]


  1. ^ Barry, Ellen (31 August 2018). "Greeted as the First Great Millennial Author, and Wary of the Attention". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  2. ^ Jordan, Tina (26 April 2019). "Sally Rooney's 'Normal People' Debuts on the List at No. 3". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Sarazen, Lauren (16 April 2019). "At 28, Sally Rooney has been called the voice of her generation. Believe the hype". The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  4. ^ Armitstead, Claire (2 December 2018). "Sally Rooney: 'I don't respond to authority very well'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Cocozza, Paula (24 May 2017). "'I have an aversion to failure': Sally Rooney feels the buzz of her debut novel". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Marks, Olivia (9 August 2021). "Inside The Beautiful World Of Sally Rooney". British Vogue. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  7. ^ Brockes, Emma (28 August 2021). "Sally Rooney on the hell of fame: 'It doesn't seem to work in any real way for anyone'". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ a b c "Sally Rooney Gets in Your Head". The New Yorker. 31 December 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  9. ^ "List of Scholars". Scholars of Trinity College Dublin. TCD Life. Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  10. ^ "Sally Rooney". Faber. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Trinity speakers succeed at the European University Debating Championships". Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  12. ^ "A New Kind of Adultery Novel". The New Yorker. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  13. ^ a b Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). Even if you beat me. Vol. 58. Dublin: The Dublin Review. ISBN 9780992991524. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  14. ^ a b c Beckerman, Hannah; Clark, Alex; O'Keeffe, Alice; Kellaway, Kate; Sethi, Anita; Lewis, Tim; Parkinson, Hannah Jane; Cross, Stephanie; O'Kelly, Lisa (22 January 2017). "Meet the new faces of fiction for 2017 | Books". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  15. ^ Bentley, Jean (29 April 2020). "'Normal People' Author on the Pressure of Adapting Her Best-Selling Novel for Hulu". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  16. ^ a b Cocozza, Paula (24 May 2017). "'I have an aversion to failure': Sally Rooney feels the buzz of her debut novel'". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Announcing our new editor…". Stinging Fly.
  18. ^ White, Hilary A. (28 May 2017). "I hate has he become this emblem of literary Irishness?". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  19. ^ Demolder, Kate (27 April 2020). "The Sally Rooney Essay You Haven't Read". Irish Tatler. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  20. ^ Flock, Elizabeth (11 September 2019). "Why writer Sally Rooney stopped tying up loose ends in 'Conversations With Friends'". PBS. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  21. ^ a b Francesca Pymm (29 March 2018). "Conversations with Authors: Sally Rooney talks to The Bookseller". The Bookseller. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Announcing: the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018 Shortlist" (PDF). Folio Prize. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  23. ^ Code8 team. "Sally Rooney - Young Writer of the Year Award". Young Writer Award. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  24. ^ Natasha Onwuemezi (20 March 2017). "Sunday Times Short Story Award shortlists Lambert and Rooney". The Bookseller. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  25. ^ "Announcing our new editor…". The Stinging Fly. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  26. ^ "author: Sally Rooney". The Stinging Fly. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  27. ^ "About Us". The Stinging Fly. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Sally Rooney, Daniel Woodrell and Bernard MacLaverty headline Cúirt festival". The Irish Times. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Sally Rooney's second novel, Normal People, due in September". The Irish Times. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Normal People | Sally Rooney". Granta. 9 August 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  31. ^ "Sally Rooney on sex, power and the art of being normal". New Statesman. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  32. ^ "At the Clinic". The White Review. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  33. ^ "Man Booker prize 2018 longlist – in pictures". The Guardian. 23 July 2018. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  34. ^ "Success for Lynn Ruane, Sally Rooney and Aislings everywhere at Irish Book Awards". 27 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  35. ^ "Love story named book of the year". BBC News. 29 November 2018.
  36. ^ Singh, Anita (7 January 2019). "Youngest ever Costa Book Prize winner: Sally Rooney claims victory following Booker 'snub'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  37. ^ Devers, A. N. (25 March 2019). "Sally Rooney on Normal People, Conversations With Friends, and 19th Century Literature". Elle. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  38. ^ Flood, Alison (31 January 2019). "Dylan Thomas prize: teacher and nurse among 'starburst' of young talent". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  39. ^ "Announcing the Women's Prize 2019 Longlist". Women's Prize for Fiction. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  40. ^ "Abnormal TV - A faithful, careful adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People". The Economist. 29 April 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  41. ^ "Normal People nominated for four Emmy Awards in US". The Irish Times. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  42. ^ "BBC announces adaptation of Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends, reuniting Lenny Abrahamson and Element Pictures". BBC. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  43. ^ Sampson, Annabel (5 May 2020). "Everything you need to know about Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends TV adaption". Tatler. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  44. ^ Specter, Emma (12 May 2020). "Everything We Know So Far About the Conversations With Friends TV Series". Vogue. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  45. ^ Lindsay, Kathryn (12 May 2020). "Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends Is Following In Normal People's TV Footsteps". Refinery 29. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  46. ^ "The New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Announces 2019-2020 Fellows". The New York Public Library. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  47. ^ Alter, Alexandra (12 January 2021). "Sally Rooney to Publish 'Beautiful World, Where Are You'". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  48. ^ Cain, Sian (12 January 2021). "New Sally Rooney novel to be published in September". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  49. ^ "Sally Rooney announces new novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You". RTÉ. 12 January 2021.
  50. ^ Amor Barros-Del Río, María (26 May 2022). "Sally Rooney's Normal People: the millennial novel of formation in recessionary Ireland". Irish Studies Review. 30: 176–192. doi:10.1080/09670882.2022.2080036. Retrieved 24 February 2023. Ideologically, Sally Rooney is a feminist and a confessed Marxist
  51. ^ Sheahan, Fionnán (23 May 2020). "It's Marianne's fault we can't get a government to satisfy Normal People". Irish Independent. 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'.
  52. ^ Collins, Lauren (31 December 2019). "Sally Rooney Gets in Your Head". The New Yorker. Retrieved 24 February 2023. [Rooney's parents] took Sally and her two siblings to church, but they were more passionate about passing on socialist values. Marx's dictum "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" was the household catechism.
  53. ^ Choma, Russ (22 March 2019). "How Sally Rooney took a coming-of-age novel and turned it into an important cultural commentary". Mother Jones. Retrieved 24 February 2023. I've definitely been very interested in Marxist social theory, Marxist cultural theory, and economics. And that comes from my background a bit as well, because my parents were socialists and raised us with a kind of socialist worldview.
  54. ^ Tschemerinsky, Kathrine (26 June 2021). "Writer Sally Rooney on transforming life into novels". Retrieved 24 February 2023. Sally Rooney explains that she sees the world through what she calls a Marxist framework and that both of her novels explore social structures: "When there are two people alone in a bedroom no one is thinking about class and gender, but the structures are there," she says. Rooney's books also discuss social class through her characters: "The people that I write about tend to be precariously situated in the economy. They are usually college educated like I am, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are financially stable and secure."
  55. ^ a b Crain, Caleb (September 2021). "Review: Sally Rooney's 'Beautiful World, Where Are You'". The Atlantic. Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  56. ^ Delistraty, Cody (11 April 2019). "Sally Rooney's Politics of Millennial Resignation". Vulture. Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  57. ^ a b Brockes, Emma (3 September 2021). "Sally Rooney interview: 'It's my job to write about whatever comes into my head'". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 24 February 2023. As Rooney's fame grew, inevitably commentators online targeted her own background for being insufficiently pure. At the end of Normal People, Connell, a working-class boy, goes off to New York to take up a place on a creative writing course at NYU, an ending mocked by critics as being bourgeois
  58. ^ "Reading Sally Rooney in China". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  59. ^ Sullivan, Helen (11 February 2023). "China's censored feminist movement finds solace in Sally Rooney". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  60. ^ Chilton, Louis (12 October 2021). "Sally Rooney denies Israeli publisher's request to print Hebrew translation". The Independent. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  61. ^ Badshah, Nadeem (11 October 2021). "Sally Rooney bans Hebrew translation in protest at Palestinian conflict". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 12 October 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  62. ^ Knight, Lucy (12 October 2021). "Sally Rooney turns down an Israeli translation on political grounds". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  63. ^ "Sally Rooney novels pulled from Israeli bookstores after translation boycott". the Guardian. 5 November 2021. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  64. ^ "Sally Rooney's Israeli publisher keeps selling her books even as chains shun her".
  65. ^ "Authors back Sally Rooney's boycott of an Israeli publisher". the Guardian. 22 November 2021.
  66. ^ "Winter Pages: a treasure trove of soul fuel with deep roots in Irish soil". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  67. ^ Brown, Kevin (27 June 2016). "Kevin Barry's chaotic journey from "stoner entrepreneur" to Ireland's most unpredictable novelist". New Statesman. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  68. ^ The Linenhall Arts Centre. "News, Linenhall Arts Centre, Mayo | Linenhall Arts Centre". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  69. ^ "A gift for book-lovers: Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith have created a beautiful arts anthology, Winter Pages". 27 November 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  70. ^ Rooney, Sally (Summer 2016). Concord 34. Vol. 63. Dublin: The Dublin Review. ISBN 9780992991579. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  71. ^ Rooney, Sally (September 2016). At the Clinic. Vol. 18. London: The White Review. ISBN 9780992756291.
  72. ^ "Issue No. 18". The White Review. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  73. ^ Rooney, Sally (12 August 2017). ""Robbie Brady's astonishing late goal takes its place in our personal histories": A new short story by Sally Rooney". New Statesman. London. Archived from the original on 17 August 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  74. ^ "Faber tells the story of 90 years of publishing". Faber & Faber Blog. 5 September 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  75. ^ Rooney, Sally (19 April 2016). "Mr Salary". Granta Magazine. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  76. ^ "Sally Rooney and Joanna Walsh in Conversation". Granta Magazine. 9 June 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  77. ^ Rooney, Sally (11 March 2019). "Color and Light". The New Yorker. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  78. ^ "Being Various: New Irish Short Stories". Library Journal. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  79. ^ ""Unread Messages"". The New Yorker. 1 July 2021. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  80. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). The Most Amazing Live Instrumental Performance You Have Ever Heard. The Stinging Fly. Vol. 2. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  81. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). Seven AM in April. The Stinging Fly. Vol. 2. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  82. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). An Account of Vital Clues Which Appear To You In A Dream. The Stinging Fly. Vol. 2. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  83. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). It Is Monday. The Stinging Fly. Vol. 2. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  84. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). Have I Been Severe?. The Stinging Fly. Vol. 2. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  85. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). Leaving You. The Stinging Fly. Vol. 2. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  86. ^ Rooney, Sally (24 May 2018). "An Irish Problem". London Review of Books. 40 (10). Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  87. ^ Online version is titled "Sally Rooney gets in your head".
  88. ^ Barry, Aoife. "Success for Lynn Ruane, Sally Rooney and Aislings everywhere at Irish Book Awards". Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  89. ^ "Costa Book Awards | Behind the beans | Costa Coffee". Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  90. ^ "The Encore Award". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  91. ^ "Winner of the Novel of the Year 2022". Zurich Ireland. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  92. ^ Christensen, Lauren (28 August 2021). "'It Was Like I'd Never Done It Before': How Sally Rooney Wrote Again". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 3 September 2021.