Literary Friction - Adaptation with Niven Govinden
Building on our show in 2017 with Dana Spiotta that looked at books about film, this month we want to explore what happens when books turn into films. We’ll be asking why literature is often a source for cinema, thinking about what the best adaptations get right, and remembering some of our favourite movies inspired by books. Our guest is author Niven Govinden, whose sixth novel, Diary of a Film, unfolds over the course of three days in an unnamed Italian city, where an auteur director has come to premier his latest film at a festival. It’s a love letter to the cinema, and an intense meditation on the creative process, artistic control, queer love and flaneurs. So, grab your popcorn - it will almost be like sitting in a crowded movie theatre again!
Our recommended film adaptations:
Octavia: Lady Macbeth, directed by William Oldroyd (https://www2.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/reviews-recommendations/lady-macbeth-william-oldroyd-period-film-bones) based on the novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov: https://www.nyrb.com/products/lady-macbeth-of-mtsensk?variant=32796791701641
Carrie: Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve (https://www.vox.com/culture/2016/11/11/13587262/arrival-movie-review-amy-adams-denis-villeneuve) based on the short story Story Of Your Life by Ted Chiang: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/538163/arrival-stories-of-your-life-mti-by-ted-chiang/
Octavia: The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein https://www.europaeditions.com/book/9781933372006/the-days-of-abandonment
Niven: Romance in Marseille by Claude McKay https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/604955/romance-in-marseille-by-claude-mckay-edited-by-gary-edward-holcomb-and-william-j-maxwell/
Carrie: Having and Being Had by Eula Biss https://www.faber.co.uk/books/non-fiction/9780571346424-having-and-being-had.html
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This episode is sponsored by Picador: https://www.panmacmillan.com/picador