The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0442 Monday, 9 September 2013
Date: Monday, September 9, 2013
Subject: Penguin Random House’s Hogarth Imprint
Two More Writers for Shakespeare Effort
Compiled by ADAM W. KEPLER
September 9, 2013
Margaret Atwood and Howard Jacobson are the latest authors to be commissioned by Penguin Random House’s Hogarth imprint to write their interpretations of plays by Shakespeare, the publisher is to announce on Monday. Ms. Atwood will tackle “The Tempest,” while Mr. Jacobson has chosen “The Merchant of Venice.” They join Anne Tyler, who will provide her own take on “The Taming of the Shrew,” and Jeanette Winterson, who will reimagine “The Winter’s Tale.” The plays are scheduled to be published in print, digital and audio formats in 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project. In a news release, Ms. Atwood said that she had selected “The Tempest” because it “has always been a favorite of mine, and working on it will be an invigorating challenge. Is Caliban the first talking monster? Not quite, but close.” Mr. Jacobson also gave his reasons for selecting “The Merchant of Venice”: “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.” He added: “ ‘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?’ ” Hogarth plans to announce more writers for the project in the future.
[Editor’s Note: I am a great fan of Margaret Atwood and find her one of the most talented fiction writers of today. In honor of the recently published MaddAddam the final volume in the MaddAddam Trilogy, I have decided to go back and reread the first two volumes Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. What wonderful excuses I give myself for reading materials. –Hardy]