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Saturday, October 10, 2015

New Shakespeare Novels to be Released Soon!

In my blog entry of September 1, I wrote about Shakespeare-inspired novels.   Many of Shakespeare’s plays, especially the tragedies, have inspired a modern re-telling or a novel featuring characters from the plays, and I outlined some of the ones with which I am familiar.

Now there will be more such novels.  The publisher Hogarth has commissioned authors to write prose ‘retellings’ of Shakespeare’s plays for the modern reader.  The Hogarth Shakespeare programme will launch in 2016, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.   

The first book in the series was released this past Tuesday:  Jeanette Winterson’s retelling of The Winter’s Tale which is called The Gap of Time:

"The Winter's Tale is one of Shakespeare's ‘late plays’.  It tells the story of Leontes, King of Sicily, whose insane jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter, Perdita, from the kingdom and then the death of his beautiful wife, Hermione.  Perdita is brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of miraculous events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited.

In Jeanette Winterson's retelling we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crash, to a storm-ravaged city in the US called New Bohemia.  Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, video games and the elliptical nature of time.  It tells in a hyper-modern way, full of energy and beauty, of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and love, redemption and a lost child on the other” (

Here are the other seven authors who have joined the project thus far and the plays they have chosen to use as inspiration:
Margaret Atwood – The Tempest (October 2016)
Tracy Chevalier – Othello
Gillian Flynn – Hamlet
Howard Jacobson – The Merchant of Venice (February 2016)
Jo Nesbø – Macbeth
Edward St. Aubyn – King Lear
Anne Tyler – The Taming of the Shrew (June 2016)