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Laurie Halse Anderson's 'Speak' will be adapted as a graphic novel

'Speak' was a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

By Staff Writer / August 2, 2013

'Speak' by Laurie Halse Anderson centers on a girl named Melinda who is raped and shies away from speaking after her ordeal, focusing instead on her artwork.

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Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel “Speak” will be adapted into a graphic novel, scheduled for release in fall 2016.

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Anderson will adapt “Speak” for the new format, with illustrations to be handled by Emily Carroll.

“Speak” centers on a girl named Melinda who is raped and shies away from speaking after her ordeal, focusing instead on her artwork. The novel was originally published in 1999 and was a National Book Award finalist in the Young People's Literature category. It was adapted into a film starring Kristen Stewart as Melinda which aired on Showtime and Lifetime in 2004.

“I have wanted to do a graphic novel of Speak for some time,” Anderson told Publishers Weekly of the new project. “Once I saw how graphic novels were becoming so popular, and given that Melinda finds her voice through her art, it’s the perfect YA novel to be told in this format.”

Anderson said of adapting the novel that “the fun part with this adaptation is figuring out how few words I can get away with. Some of my favorite moments in the novel are those when Melinda can’t speak because she is so hampered by her depression and the hard things that have happened to her. Now I’ll get the chance to turn that over to Emily, who gets to show readers how those silent moments look and feel. It will be exciting to see her artistic interpretation.”

Meanwhile, Carroll said she feels the challenge of adapting such an acclaimed novel.

“The novel has meant so much to so many people since its release that it’s a lot to live up to,” she told Publishers Weekly. “Balancing how Melinda sees the world with the actual world itself is a lot to keep in mind when you're translating that internal struggle to visuals.”

The graphic novel will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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