Waterstones News Update: Alexander McCall Smith to Rework Emma

Alexander McCall Smith Austen Project HarperFiction

Waterstones news update: Acclaimed novelist Alexander McCall Smith has been named as the fourth author to write a reworked novel to the Jane Austen series.

As the latest in an unnecessary but seemingly endless series of novels being published that are reworks of novels, plays and short stories which are only remembered to this day because of their enduring quality, Alexander McCall Smith is set to create a reworked novel of Jane Austen’s Emma.

The novel is one of the main six novels that Austen is known for – Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Emma and Persuasion. All of the novels are being reworked by different authors so that ultimately all of the novels will be altered slightly. There will be a certain level of respect in terms of honouring the original story but the new authors will of course be permitted creative freedom to a certain extent.
To this stage, only Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey have been assigned to authors: Joanna Trollope, Val McDermid and Curtis Sittenfeld respectively. All of the novels – both originals and reworked versions – will be available in Waterstones stores across the country. The best way to find out more specific levels of availability is to contact Waterstones, specifically your local store.

Waterstones News Update

McCall Smith is best known for his novel series “The No1 Ladies Detective Agency” which has been compared to Austen’s novels in terms of the theme that they follow – good triumphing over evil as it were. HarperFiction have imaginatively named this series of novels the “Austen Project” and they will be published over the course of a year or so, starting with Trollope’s Sense and Sensibility in October 2013.

It is somewhat of a fad at the moment, much like vampire fiction, to rework novels that have outlived their authors and will outlive those writing the reworks. It seems to this humble author that it is simply a way to make money off the back of another success. The word “reimagine” has been bandied about plenty in relation to this project; the authors are reimagining the stories, not only is this an impossibility in terms of basic structure of the word – if you break the word down something cannot be reimagined – but there is a somewhat paradoxical nature to this project anyway.

The novels are selected because nearly 200 years after they were originally written they are still proving to be immensely popular but this begs the question, why rewrite them then? This is not going to make the stories more popular or accessible by readers. If there was a problem with topic, writing style, relevance of content and so on, they would not be popular and therefore there would not be this demand.

It is likely that Waterstones stores across the UK will be bursting at the seams with people buying the new publications however so all the contact information is provided here for all enquiries.

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