In 2016, dozens of nonfiction page turners, thrilling novels, and electric short stories were turned into films and TV shows that delighted audiences around the world. In the midst of an award season that’s honoring work like Hidden Figures and American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, EW revisits 13 pieces of literature that are excelling on the screen.
Lion based on A Long Way Home: A Memoir by Saroo Brierley
Silence based on Shusaku Endo's Silence
Nocturnal Animals based on Tony and Susan by Austin Wright
American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson based on The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin
Arrival based on Ted Chaing's "The Story Of Your Life"
The original source material for Arrival landed back in 2002 in the form of Ted Chiang’s award-winning science fiction short story. The tale of a race of aliens making contact with humankind and the linguistic professor who is roped into interpreting their attempts at communication is no easy read. Chiang uses different tenses—future, past, and present—to construct the complex and tangled narrative. Order it here!
Elle based on Oh… by Philippe Dijan
Hidden Figures based on Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Shetterly tells the stories of the four “human computers” responsible for some of scientific breakthroughs that led to NASA’s greatest achievements, including astronaut John Glenn’s orbit around the Earth, while also framing the four black women’s (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Christine Darden) lives against both the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War. Order it here!
Game of Thrones based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
The Night Manager based on The Night Manager by John le Carré
Fences based on Fences by August Wilson
The most famous entry in August Wilson’s award-winning “Pittsburgh cycle” of plays tells the story of the Maxsons, a working-class African-American family struggling with secrets in 1950s Pittsburgh. The patriarch, Troy, is a former star athlete who never broke through the still-segregated MLB. He takes out his lingering resentments on his son and wife, who fire back in their own ways to create a beautiful, honest, three-dimensional portrait of American family life and the tolls of racism.” Order it here!
Hacksaw Ridge based on Redemption at Hacksaw Ridge by Booton Herdon
Booton Herdon’s biography of World War II conscientious objector Desmond Doss inspired Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson’s return to directing and a contender for Best Picture at the Oscars. Andrew Garfield stars as Doss, a war hero and the first person to win the Medal of Honor without ever firing a gun. Order it here!
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The 2015 best-seller that swept the globe (and keeps on sweeping), Paula Hawkins’s thriller follows an alcoholic divorcee (Emily Blunt) who thinks she may have witnessed a crime from the window of her commuter train. But as she entangles herself in the police investigation, she becomes a suspect herself. Blunt received a SAG nomination for her portrayal of Rachel Watson in the 2016 film, which moved the action from London, in the book, to suburban New York. Order it here!