Hamlet figure on yellow background

Books Based on Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is considered one of the all-time great writers. Check out these contemporary novels inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (Hamlet)
A tale that celebrates the alliance between humans and dogs follows speech-disabled Wisconsin youth Edgar, who bonds with three yearling canines and struggles to prove that his sinister uncle is responsible for his father’s death.

A Thousand Acres: a novel by Jane Smiley (King Lear)
Dark truths and long-suppressed emotions come to the surface in 1979 when a successful Iowa farmer decides to cut one of his daughters out of his will.

Macbeth by Jo Nesbø
Set in the 1970s in a run-down, industrial town, a police force struggles to shed an incessant drug problem. The drug trade is ruled by two drug lords, one of whom has connections with the highest in power and plans to use them to get his way.

As I Descended by Robin Talley (Macbeth)
Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are Acheron Academy’s power couple. Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. And Lily and Maria are willing to do anything to keep Delilah from winning the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize.

Ben and Beatriz by Katalina Gamarra (Much Ado About Nothing)
Beatriz Herrera is a fierce queer biracial woman who will take you down with her quick wit and keen intellect. Ben Montgomery is white and wealthy, but deep down, he’s wrestling with the politics and expectations of a conservative family. They’re the last two people who should fall for each other…right?

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier (Othello)
Starting his fifth school in five years, Osei Kokote, a diplomat’s son, hoping to survive his first day becomes friends with Dee, the most popular girl in school, but Ian is determined to destroy the budding friendship.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (Romeo & Juliet)
In 1926 Shanghai, eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, heir of the Scarlet Gang, and her first love-turned-rival Roma Montagov, leader of the White Flowers, must work together when mysterious deaths threaten their city.

Vinegar Girl: The Taming of the Shrew Retold by Anne Tyler
Kate Battista feels stuck, always helping her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister. When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable his soon-to-be-deported assistant to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood (The Tempest)
Felix is at the top of his game as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, but it will also heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan.