Sally Rooney describes fame is "hell" which "doesn't seem to work in any real way for anyone"

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Photo credit: Simone Padovani/Awakening - Getty Images
Photo credit: Simone Padovani/Awakening - Getty Images

Sally Rooney, who is celebrated as the first great millennial novelist for her stories on love and friendship, has opened up on the "hell" and "poisonous system" of fame.

The 30-year-old Irish author -whose beloved second novel Normal People was adapted into a hugely successful TV drama last year - described the act of becoming of famous as one that often "happens without meaningful consent - the famous person never even wanted to become famous."

Speaking to The Guardian ahead of the release of her third novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You?, Rooney explained: "As far as I can make out, the way that celebrity works in our present cultural moment is that particular people enter very rapidly, with little or no preparation, into public life, becoming objects of widespread public discourse, debate and critique.

"They just randomly happen to be skilled or gifted in some particular way, and it’s in the interests of profit-driven industries to exploit those gifts and to turn the gifted person into a kind of commodity."

Photo credit: Simone Padovani/Awakening - Getty Images
Photo credit: Simone Padovani/Awakening - Getty Images

Rooney concluded: "Of course, that person could stop doing whatever it is they're good at, in order to be allowed to retire from public life, but that seems to me like a big sacrifice on their part and an exercise in cultural self-destruction for the rest of us, forcing talented people either to endure hell or keep their talents to themselves.

"I don't think it is graceless for people in those positions to speak out about how poisonous this system is. It doesn't seem to work in any real way for anyone, except presumably some shareholders somewhere."

The award-winning writer is bound for more exposure as her debut novel Conversation with Friends is also being adapted by Oscar winning director Lenny Abrahamson for the BBC.

Photo credit: Enda Bowe
Photo credit: Enda Bowe

The story follows 21-year-old college student Frances as she navigates a series of relationships that force her to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time. Frances and best friend Bobbi are virtually inseparable and perform spoken word poetry together in Dublin - but their lives are suddenly changed upon meeting an older married couple.

The series will star Jemima Kirke, Sasha Lane and Joe Alwyn.

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