Sally Rooney

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Sally Rooney
Born (1991-02-20) 20 February 1991 (age 29)
Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland
EducationTrinity College Dublin
Notable worksConversations with Friends (2017)
Normal People (2018)
Notable awards2017 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year

Sally Rooney (born 20 February 1991) is an Irish[1] author and screenwriter. Her debut novel, Conversations with Friends, was published in 2017. It was followed by Normal People in 2018. Normal People was adapted into a 2020 TV series.

Education and personal life[edit]

Rooney was born in Castlebar, County Mayo,[2] in 1991, and grew up there.[3] Her father worked for Telecom Éireann, and her mother ran an arts centre. Rooney has an older brother and a younger sister.[3] Rooney studied English at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), where she was elected a scholar in 2011.[4] She started (but did not complete) a master's degree in politics there, and completed a degree in American literature instead, and graduated from an MA in 2013.[5] Rooney has described herself as a Marxist.[1]

A university debater, as a student at Trinity College Dublin, Rooney rose through the ranks of the European circuit to become the top debater at the European University Debating Championships in 2013,[6][7] later writing of the experience.[8] Before becoming a writer, she worked for a restaurant in an administrative role.[9][10] She lives in Dublin.[5]


Rooney completed her first novel—which she has described as "absolute trash"—at the age of 15.[11]

Conversations with Friends[edit]

She began writing "constantly" in late 2014. She completed her debut novel, Conversations with Friends, while still studying for her master's degree in American literature. She wrote 100,000 words of the book in three months.[11]

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.[12][13][14]

"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."[9]

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.[15][16] The novel was published in June 2017 by Faber and Faber. It was nominated for the 2018 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize,[17] and the 2018 Folio Prize, and won the 2017 Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award.[18][19]

"Mr Salary"[edit]

In March 2017, her short story "Mr Salary" was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.[20]

Editor of The Stinging Fly[edit]

Sally Rooney was announced as editor of the Irish literary magazine The Stinging Fly in November 2017.[21] She was a contributing writer to the magazine.[22] Rooney oversaw the magazine's two issues in 2018, before handing the editorship over to Danny Denton. She remains a contributing editor to the magazine.[23]

In 2018, Rooney was announced as taking part in the Cúirt International Festival of Literature.[24]

Normal People novel[edit]

Rooney's second novel, Normal People, was published in September 2018, also by Faber & Faber.[25][26] The novel grew out of Rooney's exploration into the history between the two main characters of her short story "At the Clinic."[27] In July 2018, Normal People was longlisted for that year's Man Booker Prize.[28] On 27 November 2018, the work won "Irish Novel of the Year" at the Irish Book Awards[29] and was named Waterstones' Book of the Year for 2018.[30] In January 2019, it won the Costa Novel Award (formerly the Whitbread) for the Novel category.[31][32] It was longlisted for the 2019 Dylan Thomas Prize[33] and the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction.[34]

New York Public Library novel fellowship[edit]

On 23 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."[35]

Normal People miniseries[edit]

The novel 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.[36][37] The series was directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald.

Conversations with Friends miniseries[edit]

In February 2020, it was announced that the novel Conversations with Friends would be made into a 12-episode BBC Three/Hulu miniseries.[38][39] It was also announced that the creative team behind Normal People, director Lenny Abrahamson and co-writer Alice Birch would be returning.[40][41]


Year Title Role Notes
2020 Normal People Writer / 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. TBA

Short fiction[edit]

(First published in Granta 135: New Irish Writing Fiction 19 April 2016.)[52][53]




Book reviews[edit]


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



  1. ^ a b "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'.
  2. ^ Claire Armitstead (2 December 2018). "Sally Rooney: 'I don't respond to authority very well'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b Paula Cocozza (24 May 2017). ":'I have an aversion to failure': Sally Rooney feels the buzz of her debut novel". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  4. ^ McCarthy, Clare. "10 things in Sally Rooney's Normal People that only Irish people understand". The Irish Post. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Sally Rooney | Authors | Faber & Faber". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Trinity speakers succeed at the European University Debating Championships". Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  7. ^ "A New Kind of Adultery Novel". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). Even if you beat me. 58. Dublin: The Dublin Review. ISBN 9780992991524. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Meet the new faces of fiction for 2017 | Books". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  10. ^ "'Normal People' Author on the Pressure of Adapting Her Best-Selling Novel for Hulu". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  11. ^ a b "'I have an aversion to failure': Sally Rooney feels the buzz of her debut novel'". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Sally Rooney Gets in Your Head". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  13. ^ "'I hate has he become this emblem of literary Irishness?'". independent. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  14. ^ "The Sally Rooney Essay You Haven't Read". Irish Tatler. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Why writer Sally Rooney stopped tying up loose ends in 'Conversations With Friends'". PBS. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Meet the new faces of fiction for 2017". The Observer. 22 January 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  17. ^ a b Francesca Pymm (29 March 2018). "Conversations with Authors: Sally Rooney talks to The Bookseller". The Bookseller. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Announcing: the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018 Shortlist" (PDF). Folio Prize. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  19. ^ Code8 team. "Sally Rooney - Young Writer of the Year Award". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  20. ^ Natasha Onwuemezi (20 March 2017). "Sunday Times Short Story Award shortlists Lambert and Rooney". The Bookseller. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Announcing our new editor…". The Stinging Fly. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  22. ^ "author: Sally Rooney". The Stinging Fly. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  23. ^ "About Us". The Stinging Fly. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  24. ^ Tue, Mar 6, 2018, 18:00 Updated: Tue, Mar 6, 2018, 18:34 (6 March 2018). "Sally Rooney, Daniel Woodrell and Bernard MacLaverty headline Cúirt festival". Retrieved 19 May 2020.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ "Sally Rooney's second novel, Normal People, due in September". Irish Times. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Normal People | Sally Rooney". Granta. 9 August 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  27. ^ "Sally Rooney on sex, power and the art of being normal". New Statesman. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  28. ^ "Man Booker prize 2018 longlist – in pictures". The Guardian. 23 July 2018. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  29. ^ "Success for Lynn Ruane, Sally Rooney and Aislings everywhere at Irish Book Awards". 27 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  30. ^ "Love story named book of the year". 29 November 2018 – via
  31. ^ Singh, Anita (7 January 2019). "Youngest ever Costa Book Prize winner: Sally Rooney claims victory following Booker 'snub'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  32. ^ A. N. Devers A. (25 March 2019). "Sally Rooney on Normal People, Conversations With Friends, and 19th Century Literature". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ "Announcing the Women's Prize 2019 Longlist". Women's Prize for Fiction. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  35. ^ "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.
  36. ^ "Normal People". Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  37. ^ "Abnormal TV - A faithful, careful adaptation of Sally Rooney's "Normal People" | Prospero". The Economist. 29 April 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  38. ^ "BBC announces adaptation of Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends, reuniting Lenny Abrahamson and Element Pictures". BBC. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  39. ^ Sampson, Annabel (5 May 2020). "Everything you need to know about Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends TV adaption". Tatler. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  40. ^ "Everything We Know So Far About the Conversations With Friends TV Series". Vogue. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  41. ^ "Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends Is Following In Normal People's TV Footsteps". Refinery 29. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  42. ^ "Winter Pages: a treasure trove of soul fuel with deep roots in Irish soil". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  43. ^ 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.
  44. ^ The Linenhall Arts Centre. "News, Linenhall Arts Centre, Mayo | Linenhall Arts Centre". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  45. ^ "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.
  46. ^ "Winter Pages vol 1 by Kevin Barry". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  47. ^ Rooney, Sally (Summer 2016). Concord 34. 63. Dublin: The Dublin Review. ISBN 9780992991579. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  48. ^ Rooney, Sally (September 2016). At the Clinic. 18. London: The White Review. ISBN 9780992756291.
  49. ^ "Issue No. 18". The White Review. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  50. ^ 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. appears in the 10 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, "France’s new Napoleon"
  51. ^ "Faber tells the story of 90 years of publishing". Faber & Faber Blog. 5 September 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  52. ^ Rooney, Sally (19 April 2016). "Mr Salary". Granta Magazine. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  53. ^ "Sally Rooney and Joanna Walsh in Conversation". Granta Magazine. 9 June 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  54. ^ Rooney, Sally (11 March 2019). "Color and Light". The New Yorker. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  55. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). The Most Amazing Live Instrumental Performance You Have Ever Heard. 2. The Stinging Fly. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  56. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). Seven AM in April. 2. The Stinging Fly. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  57. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). An Account of Vital Clues Which Appear To You In A Dream. 2. The Stinging Fly. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  58. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). It Is Monday. 2. The Stinging Fly. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  59. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). Have I Been Severe?. 2. The Stinging Fly. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  60. ^ Rooney, Sally (Spring 2015). Leaving You. 2. The Stinging Fly. ISBN 9781906539443. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  61. ^ Rooney, Sally (24 May 2018). "An Irish Problem". London Review of Books. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  62. ^ Online version is titled "Sally Rooney gets in your head".
  63. ^ Barry, Aoife. "Success for Lynn Ruane, Sally Rooney and Aislings everywhere at Irish Book Awards". Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  64. ^ "Costa Book Awards | Behind the beans | Costa Coffee". Retrieved 14 December 2019.

External links[edit]