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Open Right

Myke Bartlett: From Page to Screen

Session Info:

What are the perils and pitfalls of transforming a much-loved novel (The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Great Gatsby, The Life of Pi, The English Patient) into a blockbuster?

How does storytelling differs between the media?

How is our understanding of texts is informed by the format?

I’m an author, but my day job is working as a film critic for publications such as The Weekly Review, Time Out and Screen Education. I’m particularly interested in the recent boom in films based on Young Adult novels, few of which have met with critical approval. The session looks at a number of recent films based on popular texts, examining the changes that have been made to the story in order to make it work (or not work) on the big screen. Students will be asked to compare extracts from novels with how the same scene was portrayed on film and assess which telling is more successful.


  • Showing and telling
  • Do films ruin books?
  • Can films ever improve books?
  • Do films seem a more “authoritative” or more “realistic” telling than their print counterparts?
  • What makes a disappointing adaptation?
  • How freely should books be adapted? (Can faithful tellings be less successful than radical reworkings?)

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