The novels of classic author Jane Austen must be some of the most frequently retold works of fiction. Known for her sharp wit and insight into society, love and relationships, her observations are as relevant now as they were in the early 1800s – after all, in spite of major changes in the world around us, human nature remains much the same.
Now, HarperCollins are doing their part to improve the longevity of Austen’s stories with their launch of The Austen Project. The Austen Project is a new series of Austen’s six classics, reworked by internationally best-selling, contemporary authors, who will spin their own take on the books audiences across the globe know and love.
The first book in The Austen Project series was released in October 2013: Joanne Trollope’s Sense and Sensibility. Late March 2014 saw Scottish crime novelist, Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey hit the shelves. Curtis Sittenfeld’s Pride and Prejudice will follow in Autumn of this year, Alexander McCall Smith has been selected to re-write Emma, and Mansfield Park and Persuasion are also set to find their contemporary author match.
With so many books regularly borrowing from Austen’s plots anyway, perhaps this series seems a little pointless. However, what is exciting is that some unlikely literary candidates have been selected to bring their style and flair to the well-known tales, authors that may not otherwise have utilised plotlines and characters found in Austen, making it exciting for fans to discover a new take on their old favourites.