Hogarth Shakespeare

Anne Tyler and Jeanette Winterson

Award-winning authors Anne Tyler and Jeanette Winterson are the first authors commissioned by Hogarth to write prose ‘retellings’ of Shakespeare’s plays for the modern reader. These new versions will be true to the spirit of the original dramas and their popular appeal, while giving authors an exciting opportunity to reinvent these seminal works of English literature.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Tyler has selected Shakespeare’s comedy, The Taming of the Shrew. She says: ‘I don’t know which I’m looking forward to more: delving into the mysteries of shrewish Kate or finding out what all the other writers do with their Shakespeare characters.’

BAFTA Award-winner Jeanette Winterson OBE has chosen Shakespeare’s late play, The Winter’s Tale. She says: ‘All of us have talismanic texts that we have carried around and that carry us around. I have worked with The Winter’s Tale in many disguises for many years. This is a brilliant opportunity to work with it in its own right. And I love cover versions.’

For generations, Shakespeare’s works have been performed, read and loved throughout the world. His plays have been reinterpreted for every new generation: as teen movies (10 Things I Hate About You/Taming of the Shrew), musicals (West Side Story/Romeo and Juliet), science-fiction films (Forbidden Planet/The Tempest), Japanese warrior tales (Throne of Blood/Macbeth) and novels (A Thousand Acres/King Lear), to name a few. The time is ripe for a dedicated series of stand-alone retellings that will form a covetable library as well as a celebration of Shakespeare for years to come. The Hogarth Shakespeare will be a unique series to delight existing Shakespeare lovers and bring the world’s favourite writer to a new readership, young and old.

The Hogarth Shakespeare programme will launch in 2016, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. This international publishing initiative is led by Hogarth UK and published in partnership with Hogarth US, Knopf Canada, Knaus Verlag in Germany and Mondadori in Spain; and Random House Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. The novels will be published simultaneously across the English-speaking world in print, digital and audio formats. Hogarth is currently in discussion with a number of writers, with further announcements expected soon.

Hogarth shakespeare atwood and jacobson


On the eve of the 2013 Man Booker Prize shortlist announcement Hogarth, Penguin Random House’s transatlantic fiction imprint, today announces that Margaret Atwood andHoward Jacobson – two previous Booker winners – are the latest bestselling authors commissioned to write prose ‘retellings’ of Shakespeare’s plays. These celebrated novelists join two other global bestselling authors – Anne Tyler and Jeanette Winterson – in reinterpreting Shakespeare for the twenty-first-century reader. 

The Hogarth Shakespeare will launch in 2016, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and is a major international publishing initiative across the Penguin Random House Group.

Canada’s most eminent novelist, poet and critic Margaret Atwood has selected The Tempest – the play of magic and illusion thought to be one of Shakespeare’s last. Atwood comments:

The Tempest has always been a favourite of mine, and working on it will be an invigorating challenge. Is Caliban the first talking monster? Not quite, but close...’

Award-winning novelist and critic Howard Jacobson, best known for his prizewinning tragi-comic novels, has chosen one of Shakespeare’s most controversial plays – The Merchant of Venice. Jacobson comments:

‘For an English novelist Shakespeare is where it all begins. For an English novelist who also happens to be Jewish The Merchant of Venice is where it all snarls up. “Who is the merchant and who is the Jew?” Portia wanted to know.  Four hundred years later, the question needs to be reframed: “Who is the hero of this play and who is the villain?” And if Shylock is the villain, why did Shakespeare choose to make him so?

‘Only a fool would think he has anything to add to Shakespeare.  But Shakespeare probably never met a Jew, the Holocaust had not yet happened, and anti-Semitism didn’t have a name. Can one tell the same story today, when every reference carries a different charge? There’s the challenge. I quake before it.’

These two additions to the series will sit alongside Anne Tyler’s take on The Taming of the Shrew and Jeanette Winterson on The Winter’s Tale.

Hogarth is in conversation with a number of other writers, with further announcements to follow.

Jo Nesbo

Jo Nesbo

The Hogarth Shakespeare has commissioned Jo Nesbo – number one bestselling author of the Harry Hole thrillers – to retell Macbeth, one of Shakespeare’s darkest and most powerful tragedies. 

Jo Nesbo’s books have sold over 20 million copies worldwide and are published in over 40 countries. Nesbo’s latest novel Police is the nail-biting follow-up to his number one bestseller Phantom and is the tenth in the Harry Hole series. The Snowman, the fifth Harry Hole thriller, has recently been optioned by Working Title films. The 2011 film adaptation of Nesbo’s stand-alone thriller Headhunters was nominated for a BAFTA. A new stand-alone thrillerThe Son will be published in April by Harvill Secker.

Nesbo says: ‘Macbeth is a story that is close to my heart because it tackles topics I’ve been dealing with since I started writing. A main character who has the moral code and the corrupted mind, the personal strength and the emotional weakness, the ambition and the doubts to go either way. A thriller about the struggle for power, set both in a gloomy, stormy crime noir-like setting and in a dark, paranoid human mind. No, it does not feel too far from home. And, yes, it is a great story. And, no, I will not attempt to do justice to William Shakespeare nor the story. I will simply take what I find of use and write my own story. And, yes, I will have the nerve to call it Macbeth.’

Becky Hardie, Deputy Publishing Director, Chatto & Windus/Hogarth, acquired world rights in all languages from Niclas Salomonsson at the Salomonsson Agency, Sweden. Hardie says:  ‘From the very start we wanted The Hogarth Shakespeare to surprise and excite readers of all kinds from all over the world. Having an international thriller writer of Jo Nesbo’s stature and popularity on board is the perfect realisation of that wish. We can’t wait to see what Jo does with Shakespeare’s murderous play.’

Nesbo joins an illustrious line-up of novelists on the new Hogarth Shakespeare list, which sees contemporary authors retelling Shakespeare’s plays for a twenty-first century audience; Margaret Atwood has chosen The TempestHoward Jacobson The Merchant of VeniceAnne Tyler The Taming of the Shrew and Jeanette WintersonThe Winter’s Tale.

Hogarth cheaviler

Tracy Chevalier

Fifteen years after the publication of Girl with a Pearl Earring, which was inspired by one of the best-loved paintings in the world, Hogarth today announces that Tracy Chevalier is joining the Hogarth Shakespeare series to write a novel inspired by one of the world’s best-loved plays – Othello.

Tracy Chevalier is the author of seven historical novels, with settings as diverse as a painter’s studio in seventeenth-century Holland, the fossil cliffs of Georgian England and the Quaker community of Ohio. Her books encompass themes of love, family, friendship and betrayal, and most recently in The Last Runaway, issues of race. Chevalier is perhaps best known for the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring which has sold over 5 million copies, been translated into 39 languages, and made into an award-winning film. Chevalier grew up in Washington DC and in 1984 moved to London, where she lives with her husband and son. 

Tracy Chevalier says: ‘Othello is essentially about being an outsider and the price you pay for that difference. Most of the protagonists in my novels are outsiders, geographically or mentally, so writing Othello’s story was an irresistible opportunity.’ 

The Hogarth Shakespeare series presents retellings of Shakespeare for contemporary readers, by some of today’s best-known international writers: Margaret Atwood has chosenThe TempestHoward Jacobson The Merchant of VeniceJo Nesbo Macbeth, Anne TylerThe Taming of the Shrew and Jeanette Winterson The Winter’s Tale. The series will launch to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016. 

Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn, author of the critically acclaimed, multi-million copy bestseller Gone Girl, will write a novel based on Hamlet for the Hogarth Shakespeare series, a major international publishing initiative across the Penguin Random House Group that presents retellings of Shakespeare for contemporary readers by some of today’s best-known international writers.

One of the most influential plays in literature, Hamlet is also Shakespeare’s darkest psychological tragedy. Flynn says, ‘Hamlet has long been a fascination of mine: murder, betrayal, revenge, deceit, madness all my favorite things. Add to that some of Shakespeare’s most intriguing, curious characters from the titular brooding prince to rueful Ophelia and what (slightly cheeky) writer wouldn’t be tempted to reimagine it?’

Flynn joins an illustrious line-up of novelists on the Hogarth Shakespeare list: Margaret Atwood has chosen The Tempest, Tracy Chevalier Othello, Howard Jacobson The Merchant of Venice, Jo Nesbo Macbeth, Anne Tyler The Taming of the Shrew and Jeanette Winterson The Winter’s Tale. The series, led by Hogarth UK in partnership with Hogarth US, will launch to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016. A publication date for Flynn’s contribution to the series has not yet been announced. 

Becky Hardie, Deputy Publishing Director, Chatto & Windus/Hogarth (UK) and Alexis Washam, Senior Editor, Hogarth (US) and Crown, acquired world rights in all languages from Stephanie Kip Rostan of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency, Inc.  

Gillian Flynn, whose novels are published in the UK by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, is also the author of Sharp Objects and Dark Places. Flynn has receivedtwo CWA Daggers and was also shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for her first novel Sharp Objects. Gone Girl, her third novel, was published in 2012 and, since then, has sold nearly 6.5 million copies internationally across all formats. The book was a #1 Sunday Times bestseller and remained in the top ten for 26 consecutive weeks. 

In October 2014, Gone Girl will debut on the big screen as a major motion picture produced by 20th Century Fox, directed by David Fincher (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club), starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Emily Ratajkowski and Sela Ward. Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay. Film rights to Sharp Objects and Dark Places, both of which are currently on the New York Times paperback trade fiction bestseller list, have also been sold. Dark Places, starring Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, will debut in 2015.

Flynn’s work has been published in 40 languages. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, she lives in Chicago with her husband and son.