Share 7 Fictional Shakespeare Retellings to Honor the Bard

7 Fictional Shakespeare Retellings to Honor the Bard

Kerry Fiallo is a New York native and copywriter at Simon & Schuster. A lifelong voracious reader, she has a particular fondness for ghost stories, history, and anything to do with Mary Shelley, Ada Lovelace, and the Brontë sisters. The only thing she may love more than books is black tea, but they do often go well together. You can find her as she navigates through literature and history on Twitter @ReadingInNYC and on Tumblr.

I love William Shakespeare. As a certified literature nerd, I’ve got my personal favorite Shakespeare quotes and sonnets, and I even nurse a crush on a couple of his characters (Horatio from Hamlet and the Fool from King Lear, if you’re curious). Naturally, I want to celebrate the Bard’s birthday this month. If his actual plays are a bit too dense for you, check out these seven novels inspired either by some of his greatest works or by the man himself.


The Serpent of Venice
by Christopher Moore
In this laugh-out-loud funny, moving, and surprisingly suspenseful sequel to FOOL, Pocket—the bawdy and wily former fool of King Lear—travels to Venice and gets mixed up in a convoluted tale of greed, vengeance, and deception. A wildly raucous and vibrant novel that borrows from King Lear, Othello, and The Merchant of Venice, it's perfect for longtime and new fans of Christopher Moore's hilarious writing.
The Serpent of Venice
Christopher Moore

MENTIONED IN:

7 Fictional Shakespeare Retellings to Honor the Bard

By Kerry Fiallo | April 23, 2018

Only Fools Fall in Love: On Unexpected Literary Crushes

By Kerry Fiallo | November 30, 2016

Close

My Father Had a Daughter
by Grace Tiffany
As the daughter of the Bard, Judith Shakespeare is infatuated with her father. But when he uses a family tragedy in one of his plays, she's horrified and determined to stop its production. In this witty and ingenious fictional memoir, travel with her to London and discover the politics and drama behind the scenes of Elizabethan theater.
My Father Had a Daughter
Grace Tiffany

MENTIONED IN:

7 Fictional Shakespeare Retellings to Honor the Bard

By Kerry Fiallo | April 23, 2018

Close

The Third Witch
by Rebecca Reisert
A bold retelling of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, THE THIRD WITCH follows a teenaged girl who vows to take on Macbeth after he leaves her homeless. Infiltrating his castle as a disguised servant, she embarks on a dastardly plan of revenge that will keep you breathless. An engaging coming-of-age tale, this gives you a fresh and unique look at a classic.
The Third Witch
Rebecca Reisert

MENTIONED IN:

7 Fictional Shakespeare Retellings to Honor the Bard

By Kerry Fiallo | April 23, 2018

Close

Warm Bodies
by Isaac Marion
Romeo and Juliet has been retold countless times, but one of the most surprising interpretations is WARM BODIES. R is a zombie living a colorless afterlife when he crosses paths with Julie, a woman who has been trained to see zombies as dangerous monsters. Can they remain together even as the world threatens to separate them in this charming, witty, and moving novel?
Warm Bodies
Isaac Marion

In this unexpected retelling of Romeo and Juliet, R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. And then he meets Julie, a blast of living color in his gray landscape. However, their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.

MENTIONED IN:

7 Fictional Shakespeare Retellings to Honor the Bard

By Kerry Fiallo | April 23, 2018

17 of Our Favorite First Lines to Start 2017

By Kerry Fiallo | January 3, 2017

11 Contemporary Retellings of Classic Literature

By Sarah Jane Abbott | June 16, 2015

Close

The Marlowe Papers
by Ros Barber
As a fellow playwright and peer of Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe's untimely death has inspired plenty of theories and rumors. In this superbly original and vivid novel, Ros Barber explores the theory that Marlowe faked his death and continued writing under the name William Shakespeare.
The Marlowe Papers
Ros Barber

MENTIONED IN:

7 Fictional Shakespeare Retellings to Honor the Bard

By Kerry Fiallo | April 23, 2018

Close

The Dead Fathers Club
by Matt Haig
It isn't easy being a kid—but the stress of school, peer pressure, and crushes can only intensify when your dead father begs you to avenge his death. In this whip-smart, darkly funny, and unconventional retelling of Hamlet, a schoolboy must do just that and still survive the ups and downs of modern-day adolescence.
The Dead Fathers Club
Matt Haig

MENTIONED IN:

7 Fictional Shakespeare Retellings to Honor the Bard

By Kerry Fiallo | April 23, 2018

Close

Moby Dick
by Herman Melville
Herman Melville's classic masterpiece drew from countless sources, but one of the most profound is the works of Shakespeare. From Macbeth to King Lear, Melville mastered the Bard's language and dramatic characterization in this epic tale of Captain Ahab's obsessive hunt for the giant whale who wounded him. MOBY DICK is a breathless and magnificent example of the American Renaissance.
Moby Dick
Herman Melville

“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!” —Captain Ahab

MENTIONED IN:

7 Fictional Shakespeare Retellings to Honor the Bard

By Kerry Fiallo | April 23, 2018

13 Compulsively Readable Novels of Obsession

By Erica Nelson | May 5, 2016

Famous Last Words: Parting Lines From Our Favorite Characters

By Sarah Jane Abbott | May 21, 2015

Close

For more Shakespeare fun, check out these 11 Books Inspired by Shakespeare.

Thank you for joining our email list!

If you create an Off the Shelf account, you'll be able to save books to your personal bookshelf, and be eligible for free books and other good stuff.

Click here to create your free account.

You must be logged in to add books to your shelf.

Please log in or sign up now.