French film studio Gaumont is developing the show with Viva Maude, the production company launched earlier this year by actor Tessa Thompson (Passing).
Leilani’s 2020 novel follows a young artist who moves in with her older lover and his wife and daughter. The book was a huge hit with critics, and it went on to win the Kirkus Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize.
The series will be written by Jackie Sibblies Drury, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2019 for her play Fairview, and Lileana Blain-Cruz, an Obie Award-winning theater director (The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World). Thompson and Kishori Rajan will executive produce.
Thompson praised Leilani as “a seminal voice for her generation.”
“In her work, which defies categorization, there is an astonishingly singular quality that speaks to [the] spirit of the types of narratives Viva Maude aims to showcase—bold, beautifully crafted, unapologetically human, imaginative and unconventional,” Thompson said.
On Instagram, Leilani posted the announcement of the project, writing, “What is life. Huge thank you to @tessamaethompson @kishori_rajan @kassieevy, Ellen, @viva.maude @jaqs1205, Lileana, Gaumont, @fsgbooks, and HBO. Absolute dream team.”
And on Twitter, Drury found herself somewhat at a loss for words, writing, “So...Lileana Blain-Cruz and I are adapting Raven Leilani’s amazing novel into a TV show...and...I...um…”
So ... Lileana Blain-Cruz and I are adapting Raven Leilani’s amazing novel into a TV show ... and ... I ... um ... https://t.co/4kZBcIP2DP— Jackie Sibblies Drury (@jackiesdrury) October 25, 2021
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.