Archive for 2019

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[Commlist] New book: "True Event Adaptation: Scripting Real Lives,"

Mon Feb 25 14:48:21 GMT 2019

New book announcement:


edited by Davinia Thornley (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) <>

These essays all—in various ways—address the relationship between adaptation, “true events,” and cultural memory. They ask (and frequently answer) the question: how do we script stories about real events that are often still fresh in our memories and may involve living people? /True Event Adaptation: Scripting Real Lives/ contains essays from scholars committed to interrogating historical and current hard-hitting events, traumas, and truths through various media. Each essay goes beyond general discussion of adaptation and media to engage with the specifics of adapting true life events—addressing pertinent and controversial questions around scriptwriting, representation, ethics, memory, forms of history, and methodological interventions. Written for readers interested in how memory works on culture as well as screenwriting choices, the collection offers new perspectives on historical media and commercial media that is currently being produced, as well as on media created by the book’s contributors themselves.



“Why should fictional adaptations get all the headlines? Davinia Thornley’s contributors revisit a set of ten real-life subjects and situations, from female circumcision in Egypt to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, examining their adaptation in films from /The Quiet American /to /Zero Dark Thirty. /These essays complicate and challenge traditional binaries between genre and realism, creating and interpreting, fictional and nonfictional films. Individually and collectively, they make a persuasive case for the importance of adaptation, and the power of adaptation studies, in helping us make sense of contemporary reality.”

Thomas Leitch, University of Delaware, USA


 1. Introduction—Scripting Real Lives

    Davinia Thornley

 2. The Study of Historical Films as Adaptation:

    Some Critical Reflections

    Patrick Cattrysse //

 3. Waiting for the Great Swell of ‘74:

    John Milius and Autobiographical Self-projection in /Big Wednesday/

    Alfio Leotta

 4. Making Robert Sarkies’ Film /Out of the Blue/:

    Adaptation & Indigenization in Aotearoa New Zealand

    Davinia Thornley
 5. When the Truth becomes Too Hard to Tell:

    Jocylene Saab & /Dunia/ (2005)

    Margaret McVeigh

 6. Making It “Real”/“Reel”:

    Truth, Trauma, and American Exceptionalism in /Zero Dark Thirty/

    Jennifer L. Gauthier

 7. (The Facts before) The Fiction before the Facts:

    /Suburra/ from Novel (to Trial) to Feature to TV Serial

    Paolo Russo

 8. Reaching Young Audiences through Research:

    Using the NABC Method to Create the Norwegian Web Teenage Drama

    Eva Novrup Redvall

 9. An Adaptation of Life:

    Ethnographically-grounded Fiction as a Method of Inquiry into
    Personal Accounts of Traumatic Events

    Ester T. Roura

10. Writing the Screenplay for the History Film:

    A Case Study Featuring the Historical Figure, C.Y. O’Connor

    Nadia Meneghello


    *Davinia Thornley* is Senior Lecturer in Media, Film, and
    Communication at the University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand. She
    led the 2017 Screenwriting Research Network international
    conference, from which the majority of these essays are drawn, and
    is the author of /Cinema, Cross-Cultural Collaboration, and
    Criticism: Filming on an Uneven Field/ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
    Her current research centers on representations of the childfree
    choice in various academic disciplines.

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