Alexander McCall Smith is to write a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma for HarperCollins.
The author is the latest recruit to the publisher's "Austen Project", which will see Joanna Trollope tackle Sense and Sensibility, Val McDermid modernise Northanger Abbey, and Curtis Sittenfeld rework Pride and Prejudice.
McCall Smith, best known for his No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, said the venture would be “a privilege and a real challenge”, adding: “Not only is Emma one of the finest novels in the English language, but it is possibly Austen’s most thought-provoking and interesting book.”
Kate Elton, HarperFiction publisher, said: "The novels of Austen and McCall Smith share some essential qualities which make them enduringly popular with readers – gently poking fun at their characters’ ‘follies and inconsistencies’ as Austen would have it, and a sense that people can learn from this so that goodness wins out in the end."
HarperFiction associate publisher Roger Cazalet acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Caroline Walsh at David Higham Associates.