Culture Street

By Sophia Whitfield

Val McDermid, the award-winning Scottish crime writer, will write a contemporary version of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.

McDermid is most well known for her Hill/Jordan series featuring psychologist Tony Hill. The series quickly gained a following and was later adapted for television. Wire in the Blood starring Robson Green as psychologist Tony Hill remains popular television viewing.

HarperFiction will release Joanna Trollope’s  contemporary retelling of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in September next  year, with American Wife author Curtis Sittenfeld's take on Pride & Prejudice to be published the following September.  HarperFiction will be publishing updated versions of the three remaining Austen novels, but have not yet announced the authors.

MDermid said she was ‘gobsmacked’ when asked to write the book.

“I've always enjoyed Austen's work, not least because it still feels relevant to our lives, and Northanger Abbey offers tantalising possibilities to a modern writer. It's lively, satirical and holds out the opportunity for a genuine frisson of fear. I've always enjoyed challenging myself in my writing, and this will definitely make demands on my imagination and my craft. I can't wait to get started."

First published in 1817, Austen's novel follows naive 17-year-old Catherine Morland. On a visit to Northanger Abbey Catherine’s overactive imagination, influenced by her love of gothic novels, leads her to imagine terrible crimes at Northanger Abbey.

 

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