For more than 400 years, Shakespeare’s works have been performed, read, recited, taught and loved around the world, and reinterpreted for each new generation, as films, plays, musicals or literary transformations. The Hogarth Shakespeare project is where the world’s favourite playwright meets today’s best-loved novelists – reimagining The Bard’s works for a contemporary readership. Here’s an introduction to some of the books in this ground-breaking series.
BY TRACY CHEVALIER
The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a suburban Washington schoolyard and set against a simmering backdrop of Civil Rights-era USA.
Arriving at his fourth school in six years, diplomat’s son Osei Kokote knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day – so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.
BY MARGARET ATWOOD
Shakespeare’s play of magic and illusion, The Tempest, reimagined by one of the world’s great literary innovators.
After an act of unforeseen treachery, theatre director Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge.
After twelve years, payback finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him.
Famously inspired by fairy tales, myths, the environment and visions of the future, The Tempest is perfectly aligned with critically acclaimed novelist, poet, critic, activist and inventor Margaret Atwood. Her fantastical take on Shakespeare’s play of enchantment, revenge and second chances leads readers on an interactive, illusion-ridden journey.
BY ANNE TYLER
No one does family like A Spool of Blue Thread author Anne Tyler, and her retelling of The Taming of the Shrew might just feature her most appealing family yet.
Kate Battista is stuck running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and infuriating younger sister, Bunny. When Dr Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable his brilliant assistant Pyotr to avoid deportation, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to win her over? Surely there’s no way a thoroughly modern, independent woman like Kate would allow herself to be married off?
THE GAP OF TIME
BY JEANETTE WINTERSON
This cover version of The Winter’s Tale vibrates with echoes of the original but tells a contemporary story where Time itself is a player in a game of high stakes.
A baby girl is abandoned, banished from London to the storm-ravaged American city of New Bohemia. Her father has been driven mad by jealousy, her mother to exile by grief.
Seventeen years later, Perdita doesn’t know a lot about who she is or where she’s come from – but she’s about to find out.
SHYLOCK IS MY NAME
BY HOWARD JACOBSON
A re-envisaging of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, from Man Booker Prize-winner and great chronicler of Jewish life, Howard Jacobson.
‘Who is this guy, Dad? What is he doing here?’
With an absent wife and a daughter going off the rails, wealthy art collector and philanthropist Simon Strulovitch is in need of someone to talk to. So when he meets Shylock at a cemetery in Cheshire’s Golden Triangle, he invites him back to his house. It’s the beginning of a remarkable friendship, which culminates in a shocking twist on Shylock’s demand for the infamous pound of flesh.
BY JO NESBO
Set in a dark, rainy northern town, Scandinavian crime-fiction king Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth pits the ambitions of a corrupt policeman against loyal colleagues, a drug-depraved underworld and the pull of childhood friendships.
Duncan, chief of police, is idealistic and visionary, a dream to the townspeople but a nightmare for criminals. The drug trade has two lords, one of whom – a master of manipulation named Hecate – has connections with the highest in power. His plan: to steadily, insidiously manipulate Inspector Macbeth – a man already susceptible to violent and paranoid tendencies.
BY EDWARD ST AUBYN
Shakespeare’s bleakest tragedy, King Lear, in the hands of one of the most brilliant British novelists of a generation.
Henry Dunbar, the once all-powerful head of a global corporation, is not having a good day. In his dotage he handed over care of the family firm to his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan. But relations quickly soured, leaving him doubting the wisdom of past decisions...
Now imprisoned in a care home in the Lake District with only a demented alcoholic comedian as company, Dunbar starts planning his escape. As he flees into the hills, his family is hot on his heels. But who will find him first, his beloved youngest daughter, Florence, or the tigresses Abby and Megan, so keen to divest him of his estate?
The bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring returns with a tale of jealousy, bullying and revenge in a 1970s schoolyard.
The 'riotous, insanely readable' new novel from the author of THE HANDMAID'S TALE
No one does family like Anne Tyler - and the Battistas might be her most appealing yet…the new novel from the bestselling author of A Spool of Blue Thread
A story of love and jealousy, tragedy and forgiveness, a lost child and a found family
A re-envisaging of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, from the Man Booker Prize-winner and our great chronicler of Jewish life.
The gripping new thriller from the number-one Sunday Times bestselling author of The Thirst.
Comedy and tragedy converge in this tale of high finance and brutal family betrayal, from ‘The most brilliant English novelist of his generation’ Alan Hollinghurst
Hours of fun for parents and babies with pop-ups galore and textures for little hands.