Latest Issue

When Patrick met Zoë

Playwright Patrick Marber wrote the screenplay of Zoe Heller's book Notes on a Scandal. Both writers talked to me about the painful process of turning a novel into a film

By John Nathan   August 2009

Patrick Marber first met Zoë Heller in New York in 2003. Marber—a British playwright, comedian, actor and director—was there to work on the film version of his 1997 play, Closer. Heller was then the author of two novels. It was the second of these, the widely acclaimed Notes on a Scandal, that was the reason for their meeting. It is a dark, intricate tale of an embittered older teacher, Barbara Covett, who manipulates a younger teacher at her school, Sheba Hart, using her knowledge of Sheba’s illicit relationship with a pupil. Marber wanted to adapt it into a film. Heller…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect