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wiip Options ‘The Lemon’

The Lemon

Global independent studio wiip has optioned “The Lemon,” the debut novel from S.E. Boyd, a pseudonym created by authors Alessandra Lusardi, Kevin Alexander and Joe Keohane, it was announced today. The culinary-focused title from Viking, which published earlier this month, has already garnered rapturous reviews with The New York Times calling the “sly satire…as tart as ‘artisanal citrus,’ as sharp as a chef’s knife” and award-winning Bob Odenkirk stating, “The Lemon is the most fun I’ve had reading a made-up story in forever and a day.” “The Lemon,” touted as one of Fall 2022’s most anticipated novels by Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Eater, and more, will be developed as a TV series with the authors adapting their own work. wiip’s Paul Lee, Mark Roybal and Nate Winslow will executive produce alongside Lusardi, Alexander and Keohane. 

Set in the intersecting worlds of fine dining, Hollywood, and the media, this darkly hilarious and ultimately affecting story explores the underbelly of success and fame, and our obsession with our cultural heroes. In “The Lemon,” John Doe, the universally adored host of the culinary travel show Last Call, is found dead in a hotel room in an apparent suicide while filming on location in Belfast, Northern Ireland, As the news of his untimely demise breaks stateside, a group of friends, fixers, hustlers, and opportunists vie to seize control of the narrative: Doe’s chess-master of an agent Nia, ready to call in every favor she is owed to preserve his legacy; down-on-her-luck journalist Katie, who fabricates a story about Doe to save her job at a failing website; and world-famous chef Paolo Cabrini, Doe’s closest friend and confidant, who finds himself entangled with a deranged Belfast hotel worker whose lurid secret might just take them all down.

Mark Roybal said: “The Lemon takes an acidic bite out of the international culinary world and delivers a truly hysterical caper with some of the most dastardly characters I have ever encountered.  The masterminds collectively known as S.E. Boyd – Kevin, Joe, and Alessandra – have done the unthinkable in my estimation: they have created a bold, rambunctious, singular voice and a clever plot that never fails to surprise. We can’t wait to see them cook up a show based on their brilliant series.”

S.E. Boyd added: “We’re beyond delighted to be working with the exceptional team at wiip. Paul, Mark, and Nate are gratuitously talented, accomplished, smart, funny, handsome, and good company besides. They are the perfect collaborators with whom to bring the sublime madness of The Lemon to TV.” 

 All lightly damaged Catholics prone to extensive over analysis, S. E. Boyd is the creation of veteran journalists Kevin Alexander and Joe Keohane, and editor Alessandra Lusardi. Between Alexander, Keohane, and Lusardi, they have authored four books, edited dozens more, and written for EsquireThe Atlantic, and The New Yorker, among others. Alexander also won a James Beard Award for food writing, a fact Keohane and Lusardi are both tired of hearing about. This is their first novel.

Kevin Alexander, the aforementioned James Beard Award-winning journalist, is also the recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Award. He is the co-author of Chef Keith Corbin’s memoir California Soul, which was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, and the 2019 book Burn The Ice: The American Culinary Revolution and Its End which was deemed “sharply insightful” by The Times Literary Supplement. His work has appeared in Esquire, Elle, Men’s Journal, The New Republic, and the Boston Globe, and he is a 2018 and 2020 Association of Food Journalists award winner.

Joe Keohane is a veteran writer and editor who has worked at Medium, Esquire, Entrepreneur, and more. His writing—on everything from politics, to social science, to business, to being stranded on a desert island in Indonesia—has appeared inNew York magazine, The Boston Globe, The New Yorker, Wired, and The Atlantic. He’s also the author of an acclaimed nonfiction book, The Power of Strangers: The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World. He lives in New York City.