TIME Books

One Direction Fanfiction Writer Gets Book Deal, But Not Much Respect

One Direction in Buenos Aires
One Direction performs on May 3, 2014 in Buenos Aires LatinContent / Getty Images

One Direction tales are scorned by many fan-writing communities — as one fanfiction expert explains

It’s a dream situation for one particular One Direction fan: Anna Todd, author of the fanfiction series After, was signed to Simon & Schuster for a three-volume publishing deal. The names of the real-life One Direction singers will be changed and the story will go mainstream, in the latest big example of what’s known as filing off the serial numbers (in the style of Twilight inspiring 50 Shades of Grey) by removing references to the original inspiration.

But going pro doesn’t necessarily mean getting respect.

Real Person Fic (RPF), the genre of fictional stories about celebrities, is a big thing in the world of fan writing — but it’s often been the subject of inter-fan derision, and that’s particularly the case when the real people in question are the members of One Direction. An essay by scholar V. Arrow, which is featured in the recent book Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World by Anne Jamison, explains why:

RPF is something even other fanfiction writers often mock and deride as “creepy” and often “juvenile.” …But even within RPF, there is a hierarchy of respectability, and One Direction, along with other boy bands — due to the poppy style of their music, their prefab start, and the perception of their audience as teenage girls — is at the bottom.

One of the biggest issues is the perception that people who write fic about a boy band are only interested in writing out their own fantasies, scripting interactions between their idols and characters who serve as stand-ins for themselves. There’s also the notion that the writers must be young teens — despite the fact that data shows that most 1D fanfic readers/writers were over 16, and two-thirds of readers said they weren’t interested in stories that were mere wish-fulfillment for their authors.

But, the essay continues, there’s no reason why RPF has to be looked down upon: after all, Julius Caesar was based on a similar idea.

Speaking to TIME, Jamison — a University of Utah professor who will also teach a class about fanfiction at Princeton next spring — says that she doubts that the success of After will affect fan-community attitudes toward One Direction, but that the story was unusual already. For one thing, even in the time since Arrow’s RPF essay was written, Wattpad has exploded. Jamison says that when she was first exploring Wattpad, the writing platform on which After was originally posted, the company’s management encouraged her to check out the story, which is one of their most successful ever. (“I haven’t read that much of it,” Jamison says of After. “It’s really long.”)

In the course of using Wattpad, though, Jamison noticed that the fan community on Wattpad was different from other sites. Bands, for example, are very popular fic subjects on Wattpad — One Direction included. “The idea that it’s stigmatized doesn’t seem to apply to Wattpad,” she says. “Her fans on Wattpad tread [Anna Todd] like a celebrity.”

Jamison also notes that the idea of making money from fanfiction — something long seen as dubious among fans, even as recently as 50 Shades of Grey — doesn’t seem to be so strange to younger and newer fanfic writers. That’s good news for 1D fans: if the success of After changes anything for the fanfiction world, Jamison guesses, it probably won’t be the way that followers of fandoms like Sherlock or Star Trek see the boy-band’s devotees; it’s more likely to be the influence on a fresh crop of RPF writers. After all, it’s much less legally thorny to file off those serial numbers when the inspiration is reality: changing the names of a boy band doesn’t risk overstepping the fair use of someone else’s creation. And besides, it’s a time-honored tradition.

As Jamison says: “Every fiction author bases their characters on real people.”

TIME Books

Here Are the 15 Best Books of 2014 (So Far)

A diverse set of standout titles from the top half of 2014 have made this a memorable year for books

Readers are off to a fast start in 2014 with some truly excellent titles from every aisle of the bookstore: history, young adult fiction, literary fiction, graphic novels, espionage, gastronomy — you name it. The famous names usually wait until fall to publish, but already this year has seen great comic memoirs from Gary Shteyngart and New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, and a racy piece of Wall Street reporting from the incomparable, indefatigable Michael Lewis.

There’s also some great work from less well-known writers, especially some marvelous literary fiction: Stacy D’Erasmo’s Wonderland, about an aging rock star, and Phil Klay’s Redeployment, a searing look at soldiers returning from Iraq. BJ Novak’s smart, funny story collection One More Thing was an extremely welcome surprise; equally welcome is a long-overdue reissue: Miracleman, a masterpiece-level comic book from pre-Watchmen Alan Moore not seen since the 1980′s. Enjoy!

  • Michael Lewis, Flash Boys

    Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

    Wall Street is the biggest game in town, and when a small gang of oddball traders figured out that the game was rigged, they got together and forced it to reform. Lewis tells the story like a technothriller—but it’s all true.

  • E. Lockhart, We Were Liars

    Random House

    Four fast friends—three cousins plus one outsider—spend summers together on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts with their extended family, most of whom are thoroughly pickled in money and alcohol. One night Cadence, our heroine and narrator, has an accident that changes everything—but she can’t remember what happened, and nobody will tell her.

  • Kai Bird, The Good Spy

    Crown Publishing

    A lucid, thorough, fascinating biography of Robert Ames, an important CIA operative who died in the Beirut embassy bombing, by a Pulitzer-winning historian.

  • BJ Novak, One More Thing

    Knopf Doubleday

    Novak, best known for playing Ryan on the office, turns out a strange, hilarious and very very smart collection of wry and twisted comic stories in the tradition of Woody Allen’s Without Feathers.

  • Phil Klay, Redeployment


    These short stories about Marines in Iraq are brutally frank about the traumas and moral compromises of a new era of war. Klay saw them firsthand: he spent a year in Iraq with the Marines.

  • Sally Green, Half Bad


    The white and black witches are secretly at war, and 16 year old Nathan, whose parents were on opposite sides, is caught in the middle. This is an enthralling fantasy in the Harry Potter tradition, powered by Nathan’s unique narrative voice.

  • Alan Moore, Miracle Man Vol 1


    Alan Moore’s work on Miracle Man produced some of the smartest, strangest and all-time greatest superhero comics ever written (and drawn)—every bit as good as Watchmen—but they’ve been out of circulation since the 1980s for legal reasons. Now Marvel is finally reprinting them, and they haven’t aged a day.

  • Lawrence Goldstone, Birdmen

    Random House

    A meticulously researched account of the tangled, contentious early years of flight, when the Wright Brothers and Glenn Curtiss were locked in a bitter dispute that would shape the future of the entire aviation industry.

  • Olivia Laing, The Trip To Echo Spring


    Laing’s question is, what is the mysterious connection between writing and drinking? To answer it she weaves together the lives of great alcoholic writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Cheever, and Tennessee Williams, looking at why they needed to drink, what drinking gave them, and what it took away.

  • Michael Gibney, Sous Chef

    Random House

    One day and one calamitous night in the life of a sous chef in a high-end, high-pressure Manhattan restaurant. Gibney’s writing is in Anthony Bourdain’s league: he puts across both the intense stress and the intense joy of cooking in a professional kitchen.

  • Timothy Geithner, Stress Test

    Crown Publishing

    An unsparing insider’s account of the financial crisis from the former Secretary of the Treasure, unpacking the hard decisions and terrible trade-offs that devastated the economy but staved off a deep, lasting depression.

  • Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?


    A new graphic memoir by the beloved New Yorker cartoonist that details her loving but exasperated relationship with her aging parents. As always Chast’s humor is poignant and acerbic, but at the same time strangely comforting.

  • Stacy D’Erasmo, Wonderland

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    The heroine of WONDERLAND is an indie rock star, a cult icon, who’s attempting a comeback at 44 after seven years out of the public eye. D’Erasmo conjures up the seedy, sexy spectacle of life on the road with amazing vividness, and fills in the inner life of a woman who has one last chance to get her voice heard.

  • Gary Shteyngart, Little Failure

    Random House

    Born in Leningrad, Shteyngart came to America as a child and grew up to become the author of sharp, poignant comic novels. But the story was much more painful and much funnier than that sounds, and his memoir walks us through the highs and especially the lows.

  • Nina Stibbe, Love, Nina

    Little, Brown and Company

    In 1982 Stibbe was hired as a nanny for the two small children of the editor of the London Review of Books. Her letters home, collected here, are a (Helen) Fielding-esque comedy of errors, and an amazingly funny look at literary London in the 1980s.

TIME Books

3 Things We Just Learned About JK Rowling’s New Crime Novel

The Silkworm Hatchette

Writing as Robert Galbraith, J.K. Rowling's next crime novel "The Silkworm" hits stores on June 19, but there are a few things we've already learned from a new excerpt of the book in USA Today

Cormoran Strike strikes again.

Writing as Robert Galbraith, J.K. Rowling is set to release her next crime novel The Silkworm on June 19. The novel will continue in the tradition of Rowling’s 2013 novel The Cuckoo’s Calling — for which she first adopted the pseudonym Galbraith about a British private investigator named Cormoran Strike.

USA Today has an exclusive excerpt from the new book, which finds Strike taking on a new case in London when novelist Owen Quine goes missing. Though the excerpt is brief, here are three things we gleaned about Rowling’s new novel:

1. Robin Ellacott and Cormoran Strike are as tight as ever

Though readers of The Cuckoo’s Calling already knew that Strike’s clever assistant Robin Ellacott had agreed to stick around, the first chapters of The Silkworm reveals that the pair are still close. When a client is rude to Robin in front of Strike, the detective makes a point of dropping him on the spot. There’s also no mention of Matthew, Robin’s fiancée, in the initial chapters, which could be an indication of the state of the pair’s current relationship status.

2. Rowling is still angry about the phone-hacking scandal

In the first chapter of The Silkworm, a journalist suspects Strike of underhanded techniques to gain information. “All the other private dicks I use spend their time hacking phone messages,” he says to the detective with suspicion. The honorable Strike counters that it’s “illegal” to hack phones or encourage others to do so. Though it’s brief, the exchange was no doubt a pointed reference to the real-life trial that’s currently underway in Britain, where former employees of the News of the World tabloid are accused of engaging in phone-hacking in order to get scoops. Rowling herself has been a vocal critic of the British tabloids and their invasive tactics, so the dig is almost certainly calculated.

3. Strike is still down on his luck

The war veteran turned detective is still battling the same old demons in the opening chapters of The Silkworm. Keeping erratic hours, living in his office and ruminating about his famous, but distant father, Strike is the same old sad-sack detective readers met in The Cuckoo’s Calling. Some things never change and it’s likely that millions of Robert Galbraith readers out there will be pleased that their hero detective still cuts a familiar figure.

[USA Today]

TIME Books

How to Turn a Great Book Into a Movie That Isn’t Terrible

Daniella Graham—Fox 2000 Pictures/Cineplex

The authors and screenwriters behind high-profile adaptations of The Fault In Our Stars, The Giver and This Is Where I Leave You reveal how the process works

Fans of John Green’s beloved bestseller The Fault in Our Stars have been waiting just two years for the film adaptation on June 6 — but for devout followers of the book, it’s felt like much longer. Thanks to the author’s on-set social media teasers and extensive marketing from FOX, the amped-up-anticipation turned into a fan frenzy, which all weighed heavier on the imminent question: Will the film live up to the book?

After all, it’s difficult to trust Hollywood, and it’s not just fans who are often disappointed. Bestselling writer Jodi Picoult has voiced frustration over her books being made into movies, telling TIME: “It’s really hard to have people in Hollywood lie to you. What’s really upsetting is when a fan says, ‘Why did you let them change the ending?’ As if we have any say in the matter.” Stephen King, similarly, was vocal about disliking Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining.

While the book-is-always-better mindset persists, a new dawn is near: as Hollywood continues to look to books tied to a preexisting fan base, screenwriters continue expressing a desire to stay true to the original work.

The lucky job of pleasing Green’s fans went to Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the dominant screenwriting duo behind 500 Days of Summer; next, they’re set to tackle book-club favorite Me Before You. The story for The Fault in Our Stars follows Hazel and Gus, terminally ill teens who fall in love after meeting in a cancer support group. Though some changes did have to be made, Neustadter and Weber stumbled on the book as fans and wanted to preserve the heart of the story as much as possible.

“Our attitude resembled the fans who thought this might get screwed up,” Weber says. “We were, like, someone is going to do this the wrong way.” The task at hand wasn’t easy, Neustadter explained. “Your job is to figure out how to take something that people read over a week and do it in 100 minutes.”

The difficulty of capturing that essence can be alleviated, though, when authors have a hand in the screenplay. That collaborative effort is becoming increasingly common, and worked well for Michael Mitnick, the screenwriter for Lois Lowry’s The Giver, premiering in August.

THE GIVER, from left: Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, 2014. ©Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Coll
Weinstein Company/Everett Collection/Cineplex

“We were very lucky that Lois was very accessible and supportive,” Mitnick says. “Whenever we needed to make an alteration to something simple, she provided an answer.” He and the Weinstein Company used Lowry’s advice to keep The Giver from becoming a trendy movie about a dystopian society, full of sex and violence.

“When you have a writer whose voice is everything, you lose that in a movie,” film critic Stephen Whitty explained during a Rotten Tomatoes adaptation panel at BookCon, a book lover’s convention in Manhattan.

But those who’ve been privy to early screenings of The Fault in Our Stars seem pleased with the results. The substance of Green’s voice and the tear-jerking storyline is still very present. Approval from devoted fans has already begun to trickle in on social media — plus Green’s own endorsement, which he explained at a separate BookCon panel dedicated to the film’s release. “There were parts [of the script] I was infuriated by,” he said. “But it’s because it was so much better. They captured the tone, the feel, the kind of vibe I wanted to book to have.”

The process, of course, is no easy feat. Though there’s a common perception that Hollywood will ruin a book, the trend is starting to shift, with studios working to preserve the original text’s integrity as much as possible, even if that means waiting years — or decades — to get it right. For Lowry, whose The Giver was published in 1993, it’s been a 20-year journey to get it to the screen. “It was probably optioned in 1995, and I’m aware of five screenplays having been written,” she says. “It was frustrating in periods, but in retrospect it’s probably good that it took so long.”

The patience for the right screenplay stems from the obvious fear of disappointing fans, who don’t shy away from picking apart every detail the studio releases. The Giver fans tweeted and blogged their concerns about the first trailer being in color, as opposed to the black and white shades the main character sees in the book — only to have their fears allayed by The Weinstein Company’s black and white featurette that was later released.

Screenwriters are lucky if they get to work closely with authors, but some choose to do the heavy lifting themselves. Jonathan Tropper’s adaptation of his own 2009 novel This Is Where I Leave I Leave You will be released in September, starring an ensemble cast that includes Tina Fey and Jason Bateman. But authors aren’t always the best people to do the adapting. JoJo Mayes tried to write her own script for Me Before You, but the job ultimately landed in the hands of Neustadter and Weber, who could give it a more cinematic, less novelistic feel. Tropper, on the other hand, worked closely with director Shawn Levy at refining the script, even though it took five years of development and nearly 40 drafts.

Jessica Miglio—Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Tropper says the stakes are high when you’re trying to please a new audience in addition to the existing fans of the book, especially with the omnipresent risk of studio interference — and unlike some others, he was fortunate. “I was really lucky in that no one I worked with was too interested in straying too far from the book,” he says. “Adapting your own book is tricky. It’s like doing surgery on your own kid.”

TIME celebrities

When a Very Pregnant Amy Poehler Met Rising Star Jon Hamm

15th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards With Presenting Sponsor Lacoste - Backstage & Audience
Actors Jon Hamm and Amy Poehler attend the 15th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 19, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. Stefanie Keenan—CDG/Getty Images

The actors initially crossed paths during the Mad Men star's first stint hosting Saturday Night Live. Hilarity ensued

It’s safe to assume that your favorite actors are all friends with one another. (Or, in the case of Paul Rudd, best friends with everyone ever.) If you assumed that was the case for Jon Hamm and Amy Poehler, it turns out you’d be correct. When Hamm — riding high off the conclusion of Mad Men‘s second season — hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time, he left quite the impression on Poehler, who was very, very pregnant at the time. Here’s what Poehler had to say in her soon-t0-be-released memoir, Yes Please:

Jon Hamm was hosting Saturday Night Live, his first time, and I was just getting to know him, and we were doing a sketch, a Mad Men sketch, I was dressed in an old-timey way, in a big dress, and I was huge. And I had, my plan was that I was gonna do the Jon Hamm show and I was due the next day. And it was an example of the beginning of what children do to you, which is they fuck up all your plans. So I remember saying to my doctor, Dr. G, ‘I’m gonna do the show and I’ll come in Sunday, and maybe we’ll do it Sunday/Monday.’

I did the sketch, I was shooting with Hamm on Friday, and I called my doctor ’cause at the end there you kind of have to call in every day, and the receptionist was crying. I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and she said, ‘Oh, he passed away last night.’

I was due the next day. So it’s my first kid, I’m in a Mad Men outfit, I turn to everybody and I hysterically start crying, and a really pregnant woman crying is terrifying. So, juicy tears just like squirting out of my eyes. And it was like the punch line to a joke, it’s like, my doctor just died and I’m due tomorrow. And Jon Hamm, who I am just getting to know, comes over and puts his hands on my shoulder and is like, ‘This is a really important show for me. I’m gonna need you to get your shit together.’ And I laughed so hard, I probably peed myself – I believe that going through crying to laughing adds like five years to your life.

To summarize: Amy Poehler and Jon Hamm are both the best, and even though you’ll probably never have friends this funny or cool, at least you’ll be able to enjoy stories like this. Yes Please is currently slated for an Oct. 28 release.


TIME Parenting

The Problem With Wanting to Know Your Baby’s Sex Before Birth

Peter Dazeley—Getty Images

Buying pink or blue clothes before your child is even born may pressure them into specific gender roles

Want to find out your baby’s sex before he or she is born? Then you’re probably either a perfectionist or have conservative views about gender, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Ohio State University asked 182 expectant mothers to take personality tests that assessed their thoughts on gender roles and parenting perfectionism. More laid-back moms who seemed open to new experiences were less likely than perfectionist moms to ask the doctor about whether their babies would be boys or girls. “These results suggest women who choose not to learn their baby’s sex may not worry about having clothes, toys and colors for their child that match traditional gender expectations,” said Letitia Kotila, lead author of the study, which will be published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Finding out your child’s sex before their born, the researchers suggest, may push them towards a certain gender identity later. “If you know ahead of time that you’re having a girl, are you layering on all the pink and purple in a way that is going to push an extremely feminine ideal on your child?” Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, another researcher who worked on the study, said.

Famed novelist Ian McEwan weighed in on the debate this weekend when discussing how he assigns a gender to characters in his novels. The Atonement author spoke about how his son and partner were expecting a baby but didn’t want to know the gender. He endorsed their decision: “It is above all a person,” he said at a festival, according to The Times of London “Knowing in advance this social identity which confers a pink and blue fate almost seems like a form of moral kitsch because what you are celebrating is a person. So I rather take the same view of my characters: if it falls out it is a woman or a man, then I go that way.”

MONEY online shopping

4 Booksellers Taking Advantage of the Amazon-Hachette Battle with Big Discounts

Amazon's distribution center, Fernley, NV. Mark Richards—Corbis

The Amazon controversy has readers wondering where they can buy books by authors like J.K. Rowling and James Patterson. Some are also saying it's time for a total boycott of Amazon.

Amazon’s ruthless showdown with a major book publisher has readers wondering where they can buy books by favorite authors like J.K. Rowling and James Patterson. The battle also has some consumers wondering if it’s time to stop using Amazon in general.

On the one hand, Amazon’s war with the Hachette Book Group may yield some benefits for consumers, in the form of cheaper prices for books. The battle mainly concerns prices for e-books—Amazon wants them lower than what Hachette will agree to—and as the standoff has escalated, Amazon stopped taking preorders for forthcoming Hachette titles, and instituted a slowdown for some other Hachette books. Books that used to be readily available and deliverable overnight via Amazon now may arrive weeks after an Amazon customer places an order.

So on the other hand, while lower prices may be the main goal—and still could be the result—the war has brought to light Amazon’s heavy-handed tactics, which are not only turning off the literary community but plenty of everyday consumers as well. The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo, who had been a longtime Amazon defender, wrote that with its latest moves, “Amazon is confirming its critics’ worst fears and it is an ugly spectacle to behold.”

A widely circulated Gawker piece called for a boycott of Amazon, and sources ranging from The Stranger to Salon to Yahoo’s Rob Walker have likewise chimed in with outrage against Amazon, if not outright calls for taking one’s business elsewhere.

As for consumers who want their Hachette books and/or who want to support any bookseller other than Amazon, you’re in luck. Several sellers are turning the tables on Amazon, with perfectly timed discounts and special offers that seem right out of the Amazon playbook.

Amazon has a long history of utilizing competitive tactics that seem to go beyond aggressive and into hostile territory, so these sales seem appropriate. Probably the most Amazon brazen move took place during the winter holiday shopping season of 2011, when Amazon rolled out a Price Check app discount that encouraged consumers to browse in brick-and-mortar stores, then open the app, check prices on Amazon—and get an extra 5% discount for playing along and buying the item at Amazon.

Interestingly, Amazon doesn’t seem remotely bothered by the idea that its battle with Hachette may push customers elsewhere. In fact, last week the company told customers to feel free to take their business elsewhere. In a forum post, the Amazon Books team explained why the company feels compelled to play hardball in negotiations with Hachette (“we are doing so on behalf of customers”), and offered these as options for readers who are frustrated about where to buy Hachette books:

If you do need one of the affected titles quickly, we regret the inconvenience and encourage you to purchase a new or used version from one of our third-party sellers or from one of our competitors.

Among the competitors you might try, here are a few that are not only selling Hachette books, but selling them with significant discounts—a timely, advantageous, Amazon-like move to be sure:

Nearly a month ago, when the Amazon-Hachette standoff was brewing but hadn’t reached its recent white-hot intensity, the discount seller Books-A-Million announced that it “continues to proudly sell all Hachette Book Group titles,” and that ” Customers can save up to 40% off on Hachette Book Group’s most recent releases at www.booksamillion.com/bestbooks.”

Late last week, as the Wall Street Journal and others reported, Books-A-Million created a special web page devoted strictly to books penned by Hachette’s best-selling authors, including James Patterson and T.D. Jakes. The page also takes an obvious potshot at how Amazon is not accepting preorders of forthcoming Hachette books, alerting consumers that they can can pre-order the “HBG Books You Want from the Bookseller You Can Count On.” Meow!

The Silkworm, for instance, the soon-to-be-released novel under J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, is available at a preorder price of $19.60 for hardcover (retail price: $28), or $11.99 as an e-book, (retail: $14.99).

Barnes & Noble
The country’s largest brick-and-mortar-based bookseller hasn’t overtly been trying to take advantage of the Amazon-Hachette battle and steal away business from the world’s largest e-retailer. Nonetheless, Barnes & Noble is offering substantial discounts on Hachette books right now. Could be a coincidence, of course, but that’d be one heck of a fluky coincidence.

A recently created Reddit forum called attention to a buy two, get one free sale on select paperbacks. And it looks like all 2,200 or so of the “select” books just so happen to be Hachette titles. Barnes & Noble is also giving big discounts on many Hachette preorders: It’s selling The Silkworm for $16.80 as a hardcover, and the e-book goes for $11.99.

Lately, the world’s largest all-purpose retailer has been bragging that book sales are up 70% amid the ongoing Amazon-Hachette spat. The company sent out a press release noting that it had “reached out to customers to alert them about the online, in-stock availability of their favorite books from Hachette Publishing Group. All books are available online at the everyday low price, which is 40% off the cover price.”

For the sake of comparison, its preorder price for The Silkworm is $16.80, just like Barnes & Noble.

Zola Books
The New York-based startup introduced an across-the-board 30% discount on Hachette e-books recently. Alas, as of Monday Zola listed The Silkworm as not available for purchase, not even on a preorder basis.

TIME Books

Gone Girl Writer Gillian Flynn Will Reimagine Hamlet

2011 Chicago Public Library Foundation And Chicago Public Library Gala Benefit Awards Dinner
Gillian Flynn attends the 2011 Chicago Public Library Foundation and Chicago Public Library gala benefit awards dinner at the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum on October 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Daniel Boczarski--Getty Images

The best-selling thriller writer will join a host of internationally acclaimed authors -- including Margaret Atwood and Jo Nesbo -- who are reimagining the works of Shakespeare

Can Hamlet get any darker? Probably, after it gets the Gone Girl treatment. Best-selling author Gillian Flynn has just signed on to write a reimagined version of Hamlet aimed at modern audiences — the very ones who soaked up her twisted, marriage-from-hell thriller.

Flynn’s Hamlet will be part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, an international publishing initiative across the Penguin Random House Group, which will release modern retellings of Shakespeare by the likes of internationally renowned authors. Flynn is just the latest writer to join the project, which has already signed on Margaret Atwood (The Tempest), Jo Nesbo (Macbeth) and Anne Tyler (The Taming of the Shrew), among others. The series is set to launch in 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

There’s no word yet on exactly when Flynn’s Hamlet will be published, but we’re already dying to hear Ophelia’s version of the famous “Cool Girl” rant.


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