“The Casual Vacancy,” the first grown-up novel from Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, is being made into a BBC series.
BBC announced that it was commissioning the adaptation through an independent production company operated by Neil Blair, Rowling’s literary agent, and Rick Senat, formerly of Warner Bros. How many episodes and how long they’ll be has yet to be determined, though it has been established that Rowling will be closely involved in the project, which will air in 2014.
Rowling published “The Casual Vacany” in September. Her first non-Potter novel as well as her first intended for an adult audience, the book is a tragicomedy set in the suburban West Country town of Pagford, a place torn apart after the death of a Parish Councillor leads to an ugly debate and election to replace him, calling up issues of class and politics. Reviewing the novel in the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani described it as “an odd mash-up of a dark soap opera like ‘Peyton Place’ with one of those very British Barbara Pym novels, depicting small-town, circumscribed lives.”
The book is global best-seller despite its lack of magic and themes of rape and drug addiction — not surprising given it’s from the author of the best-selling books in history, ones that have birthed a gigantically successful film franchise. Per Rowling, “I’m thrilled that the BBC has commissioned ‘The Casual Vacancy.’ I always felt that, if it were to be adapted, this novel was best suited to television and I think the BBC is the perfect home.”