The Hogarth Shakespeare, a major international publishing initiative across the Penguin Random House Group, has commissioned Jo Nesbo – number one bestselling author of the Harry Hole thrillers – to retell Macbeth, one of Shakespeare's darkest and most powerful tragedies.
Jo Nesbo's books have sold over 20 million copies worldwide and are published in over 40 countries. Nesbo's latest novel Police is the nail-biting follow-up to his number one bestseller Phantom and is the tenth in the Harry Hole series. The Snowman, the fifth Harry Hole thriller, has recently been optioned by Working Title films. The 2011 film adaptation of Nesbo's stand-alone thriller Headhunters was nominated for a BAFTA. A new stand-alone thriller The Son will be published in April by Harvill Secker.
Nesbo says: '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.'
Becky Hardie, Deputy Publishing Director, Chatto & Windus/Hogarth, acquired world rights in all languages from Niclas Salomonsson at the Salomonsson Agency, Sweden. Hardie says: '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 joins an illustrious line-up of novelists on the new Hogarth Shakespeare list, which sees contemporary authors retelling Shakespeare's plays for a twenty-first century audience; Margaret Atwood has chosen The Tempest, Howard Jacobson The Merchant of Venice, Anne Tyler The Taming of the Shrew and Jeanette Winterson The Winter's Tale.
The series will launch in 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. This international publishing initiative is led by Hogarth UK and published in partnership with Hogarth US, Knopf Canada, Knaus Verlag in Germany and 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.
Read Crime Watch's 9mm interview with Jo Nesbo here.