Bestselling novel A Little Life to be adapted for the London stage

The performance of Hanya Yanagihara’s novel will run for 12 weeks in the West End

The Dutch stage adaptation of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, directed by Ivo van Hove. Photo: BAM / Julieta Cervantes
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Hanya Yanagihara’s critically acclaimed bestselling 2015 novel A Little Life will be adapted for London's West End.

The play, which will run for 12 weeks at the Harold Pinter Theatre from March 25, follows the lives of four close male friends from a college in Massachusetts, US.

After graduating, the group move to New York, and as their dreams and elements of their harrowing past change the dynamics of their friendship, the story explores how they grapple with childhood trauma, relationships and greater themes including abuse, race, privilege and addiction.

The West End run will be the first time the play is performed in English.

It is directed by Ivo van Hove, who collaborated with Yanagihara on the script for a version of the play in Dutch, which was performed with English subtitles at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year and received positive reviews despite its dark subject matter.

The play will star Bafta-nominated actor James Norton (Happy Valley, McMafia), Omari Douglas (It's A Sin), Luke Thompson (Bridgerton) and Zach Wyatt (The Witcher).

A Little Life has sold more than one million copies and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2015. While receiving widespread critical acclaim, it has also been divisive among critics and readers. Yanagihara has been criticised for her gratuitous depictions of suffering and violence and romanticising victimhood through the characters' experiences.

Yanagihara has since published another novel, To Paradise, set in an alternate version of New York City over three time periods, 1893, 1993, and 2093, connected through themes around Americanism. Similar to A Little Life, Yanagihara’s latest novel has been both heavily critiqued and praised.

Updated: November 23, 2022, 9:45 AM