Novel Shakespeare

Ref: C2338001

Contemporary writers as diverse as Anne Tyler, Jeanette Winterson, Howard Jacobson and Jo Nesbø, have been commissioned to write novels loosely based on key works by William Shakespeare. Ian McEwan’s Nutshell, and Margaret Attwood’s Hag-Seed are the two latest – based on Hamlet and The Tempest respectively. We will ask: can these modern ‘takes’ – in a different literary genre – do anything to improve on the originals? Do they stand in their own right, and work as novels? We will choose and agree to read three books from the series: Anne Tyler: Vinegar Girl; Jeanette Winterson: The Gap of Time; Howard Jacobson: Shylock is my Name; Ian McEwan: Nutshell; Margaret Attwood: Hag-Seed; Jo Nesbø: Macbeth (due for release April 2017).

Course aim

We will examine and explore books from a new publication-project: the Hogarth-Shakespeare series – Shakespeare’s plays re-imagined as contemporary works of fiction.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • identify key themes and structures in the chosen titles
  • discuss and comment on the ways that the chosen authors have used/misused Shakespeare
  • select passages for close reading, which illustrate key points and opinions
  • participate in readings, presentations, discussions and debate with others: is our understanding of and appreciation of Shakespeare enhanced?
  • relate the course’s subject-matter to wider social, political and cultural contexts: feminism, Freud, Trump, Brexit…

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional reading in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • you will need to acquire copies of the agreed books from the suggestions below; and keep up with readings as suggested by the tutor.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • We will choose and agree to read three books from the series (see above)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course outline

Novel Shakespeare Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing