TV adaptation of alumni's novel 'Amy & Isabelle'

Author Elizabeth Strout ’77 will see her best-selling prose transformed for the small screen March 4 with the ABC telecast of Oprah Winfrey Presents: Amy & Isabelle, an adaptation of Strout’s acclaimed debut novel. The film, with Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, Hollow Man) and Hanna Hall (The Virgin Suicides, Forrest Gump) in the title roles, is a production of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films.

The New York Times called Strout’s book “one of those rare, invigorating books that takes an apparently familiar world and peers into it with ruthless intimacy…” The familiar world is the fictional New England mill town of Shirley Falls. Strout’s story focuses on a mother and teenage daughter and how their conflicts and missteps intertwine and intersect with other large and small dramas.

“Harpo Films did a fabulous job. They were so true to the book and kept its integrity. My work was in the hands of people who cared about it deeply,” says Strout, who called the executive producer and screenwriter “my ideal readers.” Strout lauded the entire cast’s efforts, singling out Shue for praise. “Elizabeth Shue shows internal changes, and so much of what Isabelle experiences is internal. My hat goes off to her.”

An English major at Bates who has had stories published in literary and trade magazines, including The New Yorker, Seventeen, Redbook and Ms., Strout lives in New York City, where she is at work on her next novel.

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