Nesbo takes on Macbeth for Hogarth Shakespeare

Nesbo takes on Macbeth for Hogarth Shakespeare

Norwegian thriller writer Jo Nesbo is to retell Shakespeare’s "Macbeth" as part of The Hogarth Shakespeare initiative.

The list, which will launch in 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, will see contemporary authors retelling the Bard’s plays in prose for a 21st century audience. Nesbo, author of the bestselling Harry Hole thrillers, will join illustrious literary names such as Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Atwood and Howard Jacobson.

Becky Hardie, deputy publishing director at Chatto & Windus/Hogarth, acquired world rights in all languages to Nesbo’s Macbeth from Niclas Salomonsson at the Salomonsson Agency, Sweden. She said: “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 said: “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.”

Author/play pairings on the Hogarth Shakespeare list will see Margaret Atwood tackling "The Tempest"; Howard Jacobson retelling "The Merchant of Venice"; Anne Tyler handling "The Taming of the Shrew"; and Jeanette Winterson retelling "The Winter’s Tale".

Fiction imprint Hogarth launched in 2012 as a transatlantic partnership between Chatto & Windus in the UK and Crown in the US.

The Hogarth Shakespeare, announced last year, is an international publishing initiative led by Hogarth UK and published in partnership with Hogarth US, Knopf Canada, Knaus Verlag in Germany, Lumen 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.