These days, it seems like everything old is new again. From fashion to movies and now literature, the fad seems to be out with the new and in with the old, with a few choice modifications of course. The latest in this trend cycle is the reworking of Jane Austen's masterpieces to fit the modern world. The book is the newest addition to the simply and quite directly named Jane Austen Project and penning it is best-selling British author Alexander McCall Smith. In a statement released by his publisher Friday, McCall is poised to rewrite Austen's "Emma."
McCall Smith is famous for his series, "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency." Selling more than 20 million copies the world over, the writer was chosen by Kate Elton, head of fiction at HarperCollins, for the similarities that the two writers share. "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," said Elton in a press release for the publishing house.
The other books chosen for the project were "Sense and Sensibility" rewritten by Joanna Trollope, a rewrite of "Northanger Abbey" by Val McDermid and an updated version of the well- worn classic, "Pride and Prejudice" by Curtis Sittenfeld. Trollope's book is set to be published within this month followed by McDermid early next year. McCall Smith's "Emma" will be available late next year while Sittenfeld fans will have to wait until sometime 2015 to get their hands on a copy of his book.
When asked about what he thinks of the delightful opportunity, McCall Smith only had this to say: "Not only is 'Emma' one of the finest novels in the English language, but it is possibly Jane Austen's most thought-provoking and interesting book. Writing a contemporary version of Emma is both a privilege and a real challenge."
Born to Scottish parents in Zimbabwe, the 65-year-old author has written numerous other series and over 30 books for children.
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