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We Need to Talk About Kevin

Book cover 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' adapted for radio by Anita Sullivan
Lionel Shriver's novel as killer serial


Lionel Shriver's novel about a high-school shooting, dramatised as ten 15 minute episodes for BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour.  An exploration of nature and nurture, crossing the line to find 'there is no line'

The series was first broadcast in January 2008. It starred Madeline Potter, Nathan Nolan and Richard Laing. We apparently did need to talk about Kevin: after the broadcast the BBC message boards went wild.

Produced by Karen Rose of Sweet Talk Productions, directed by Anita Sullivan. Recorded and edited by David Thomas with additional sound design by John Thursfield.


  • Pick of the Week The Radio Times

  • Pick of the Week The Daily Mail

  • Pick of the Week Radio 4

  • Pick of the Week The Independent

  • Pick of the Day The Guardian

"...Last week, everywhere, people have been discussing the Woman’s Hour drama, We Need To Talk About Kevin. When children walk in the room, voices drop. This is definitely one for parental guidance as it features a 16 year old boy who shoots seven of his classmates, his English teacher, oh and a cafeteria worker. “Maybe he cares more about food than I thought,” ponders his mother in one of the drama’s many moments of black humour. I had been stunned by the first five of its ten episodes and rushed out to buy the novel by Lionel Shriver... Anita Sullivan has adapted the long novel very well, plunging us straight into a shocking scene (which comes later in the book) when Eva visits Kevin in prison. His psychopathic tendencies bring out her combative humour. Then she recounts events before this brutish child landed in her happy marriage and wrecked it. Madeleine Potter could not be bettered as Eva - gritty and enquiring with a mordant wit, a victim herself who, even when she isn’t dodging the parents of the dead children, feels culpable. Eva may have reflected that we often invite into our lives the thing that will wreck it." The Stage Monday 14 January 2008 Moira Petty

Interested in adaptations?

See my 'Adapting Shadowhbahn' blog

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