"The Casual Vacancy" is a darkly humorous saga of modern British life in which a local council election unleashes rivalries and resentments in a small town.
The novel is Rowling's first full-length book since she finished the "Harry Potter" saga in 2007. It was published in September to mixed reviews but topped best-seller charts.
BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson called the book "an extraordinary tapestry of modern Britain" full of "humor, social commentary and above all fantastic characters."
Rowling said the BBC was the "perfect home" for her story.
The BBC said Monday that the adaptation is due to air in 2014. The number of episodes has yet to be decided.