Notes on a Scandal is a novel published in 2003 and written by British author Zoe Heller. It deals with the social taboo of teacher-student relationships, and engendered a great deal of discussion regarding the differing ways in which male and female teachers are viewed whenever cases like this come to light. Although the novel is a story of illicit love and sinister attachment, it also includes comic observations as the narrator, school teacher Barbara Covett, makes some cutting yet accurate character analyses of her fellow faculty members.
The novel is narrated by Barbara, who is writing a manuscript about the affair between her friend, art teacher Sheba Hart, and a fifteen year-old boy whom she teaches, Stephen Connolly. Through Barbara's eyes, their story is told from start to finish; because of these details the book was controversial when it was first published, and created something of a media sensation out of Heller, who was also a popular magazine columnist at the time. The book was also made into a film starring Dame Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett.