Alexander McCall Smith to write ‘new’ Austen book

McCall Smith says it is a "privilege and a challenge". Pic; Dan Phillips
McCall Smith says it is a "privilege and a challenge". Pic; Dan Phillips
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Jane Austen’s heroine Emma will be given a literary makeover by Edinburgh writer Alexander McCall Smith in a new novel that will be published 199 years after the original.

The book is part of the Austen Project, which sees modern authors reinterpret Austen’s work.

Merchiston-based McCall Smith is the author of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which was made into a television show by the BBC starring US singer Jill Scott as sleuth Precious Ramotswe. He said: “Writing a contemporary version of Emma is a privilege and a real challenge.

“Not only is Emma one of the finest novels in the English language, but it is possibly Jane Austen’s most thought-provoking and interesting book.

“I have already embarked on the writing of my new version. Being asked to do this is like being asked to eat a box of delicious
chocolates.”