EXCLUSIVE: It has been some week for Brooklyn-based author Jennifer Egan. Her novel A Visit From The Goon Squad won the Pulitzer Prize, and she cited the HBO series The Sopranos as her inspiration. Now, Egan has closed a deal with HBO to develop her sprawling tale into a TV series. Groundswell's Michael London will be executive producer and Jocelyn Hays Simpson will be co-exec producer. Egan will be a consultant. The network hasn't yet set a writer to draft the series pilot, but it will happen quickly, I'm told.
The book was published last summer by Knopf and slowly built a head of steam. It focuses on a coterie of characters first introduced as they orbit the world of punk rock in 1980s San Francisco. Their lives are explored for the next 30 or so years, with interlocking stories that deal as much with changes in the lives of the characters as it does changes in technology. Egan uses unorthodox methods to tell her tale. One chapter is about how, in 2015, babies use touch screens to download music they like. Another chapter is written as a PowerPoint presentation by a 12-year-old girl, and the subject is famous rock songs that have pauses in the middle. During the chapter, the teen reveals much about her life. The Pulitzer committee described the book as "an inventive investigation of growing up and growing old in the digital age, displaying a big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed."
The deal was in the works before Egan won the Pulitzer, but her reps at ICM just closed with HBO. It's the first big TV project for Groundswell.