memorial on tv

Prolific Houston author inks TV deal for buzzy novel before its debut

Prolific Houston author inks TV deal for buzzy novel before its debut

Bryan Washington Houston author
Houstonian Bryan Washington is releasing a debut novel that's just been optioned for TV. Photo by Dailey Hubbard

Prolific Houston-based author Bryan Washington has yet to release his acclaimed debut novel, Memorial, but that hasn’t stopped him from inking a TV deal based on the new tome. Washington has signed with development company A24 to produce a TV project based on Memorial, according to Deadline and the Houston Chronicle.

Memorial, which has been named a most anticipated book of fall 2020 by dozens of publications and outlets, will be released on October 27.

Washington has been a favorite of the publishing world since his first book, Lot, a story collection, was released in the spring of 2019. The collection landed a host of awards and on best book lists. President Barack Obama also named it one of his favorites of that year, as did the New York Times.

Billed as a “rom-com with teeth,” Memorial is Houston-centric (Washington grew up here and graduated from the University of Houston), with street references and landmarks that will no doubt stir up some H-Town pride in local readers. It centers on Benson and Mike, two young Houston men who live together. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant, while Benson is a Black day care teacher.

The book tackles the existential question of so many relationships: the creature comforts and intimacy are good — but is that enough? When Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka, he jets to Japan just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Houston for a visit. That leaves Mitsuko and Benson stuck living together as unconventional roommates — an absurd pairing that forces Benson to examine family and himself.

Washington says that he Bryan wrote the book he wanted to read, one that he didn’t see out in the world, featuring people of color and queer people of color. Themes of break-ups and falling in love, dealing with being sick, with a parent’s death, and the meaning of family abound.

With his red-hot title about to drop later this month, Washington is turning his attention to helping adapt the book for TV. “I feel really privileged right now,” he told the Chronicle. “This is not the sort of thing you can expect.”