Books

13 Reasons Why showrunner options Carrianne Leung's That Time I Loved You for TV 

Emmy Award-nominated writer and showrunner Diana Son has picked up an option on TV rights to the award-winning 2018 short story collection by the Canadian fiction writer and educator.
Carrianne Leung is the author of The Wonderous Woo and That Time I Loved You. (Sarah Couture McPhail)

American playwright, television producer and writer Diana Son has nabbed the TV rights to adapt Carrianne Leung's That Time I Loved You.

The Emmy Award-nominated writer and showrunner behind 13 Reasons Why, American Crime, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Southland and Blue Bloods, alongside producing partner Scott Chaloff, has picked up an option on TV rights to the award-winning 2018 short story collection by the Canadian fiction writer and educator.

That Time I Loved You is a 2018 collection of interconnected short stories set in a 1970s Scarborough subdivision populated by newcomers from all over the world. Moving from house to house, the stories peel back the shiny veneer of civility, tidy front gardens and picture-perfect windows to delve into the underlying tensions and issues of the families in the community. 

"When I was writing That Time I Loved You, I didn't know what it was. I didn't know the form it would take or how people would make sense of these stories. It just doesn't follow the conventional narrative arc — so it was hard to trust this process and just go with it," said Leung in a 2018 interview with CBC Books.

Through June, an irrepressible adolescent Chinese-Canadian, and her neighbours' experiences, the book explores the fine line where childhood meets the realities of adult life and examines how difficult it is to be true to ourselves at any age.

Carrianne Leung on her collection of linked short stories, "That Time I Loved You," which goes behind the closed doors of a neighbourhood in 1970s Scarborough. 13:56

"I think the story came from memories of living in Scarborough at that time. And so I guess it was very much influenced by the feelings of being a child in that moment where I felt like a lot was happening," said Leung.

"It feels like that Scarborough doesn't exist anymore — it was such a fleeting moment. For me, growing up marginalized in a marginal place like Scarborough was really important to reflect."

The book won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, was a 2018 finalist for the Toronto Book Award and was on the Canada Reads 2019 longlist

Leung made her authorial debut in 2013 with the novel The Wondrous Woo, also set in Scarborough. The Wondrous Woo was shortlisted for the 2014 Toronto Book Award.

Her second novel, The After, described in a press release as an "apocalyptic fairy tale" about what remains when everything we know comes to an end, told in part by a raccoon and a crow, is slated for release by HarperCollins Canada in winter 2022.

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