Chances are, Hollywood producers will find a way to turn young Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai’s triumphant story I Am Malala into a movie sooner than we all learn to pronounce her last name. In the meantime, here are five women’s true-to-life tales you can read on the page and then see onscreen:
1. The Diary of Anne Frank
In 1942 Anne Frank started to habitually record her daily thoughts and observations in a notebook while her family hid from Nazis in an attic. She had no way to know the importance of those pages for future generations. Once Anne and her family were captured and sent to concentration camps, a family friend discovered the book and published it in 1947, for the world to forever have a firsthand account of the Holocaust’ impact. The Diary of Anne Frank has been adapted into film several times, including 1959 and 2009 movies, and 2010 PBS Masterpiece Theatre miniseries.
2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou passed away earlier this year at the age of 84, a multimillionaire whose career spanned 60 years in writing, film, theater and television. However, she remained most known and loved for her seminal work: the 1969 memoir I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. The book recounts her past of poverty, sexual abuse and racial segregation in Stamps, Arkansas. It remains on bestseller lists today. A film of the same name was released in 1979, starring (among others) Ruby Dee, who also passed away this year.
3. Sybil (1976)
Sybil: The True Story of a Woman Possessed by 16 Different Personalities is a 1973 book about the harrowing ordeal from illness to recovery of Sybil Dorsett, a woman who had been abused by her mother as a child. By the time psychiatrist Cornelia Wilbur finished treatment of a once-anonymous patient who first presented for fatigue and memory loss, 16 different personalities emerged from the woman the world came to know as “Sybil.” Sally Field played Sybil in a popular 1976 TV miniseries which still airs frequently today.
4. I, Tina
In the early 1980’s, Tina Turner was financially bankrupt and spiritually broken from her abusive relationship with music partner and husband Ike Turner. Her memoir I, Tina charts her evolution from country girl Annie Mae Bullock to rock superstar Tina Turner. The subsequent 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do With It? earned Angela Bassett an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
5. Not Without My Daughter
When Betty Mahmoody married an Iranian physician, she had no way of knowing she would be subjected to the laws of Iran if she visited with her family. When what was supposed to be a short vacation turned into her husband’s refusal to release her daughter for the return trip to America, Betty had no choice but to embark upon a dangerous and arduous voyage across the continent to bring herself and her daughter back home. Sally Field starred in a film adaptation of this woman’s life in 1991.