Alison May: Much Ado about Sweet Nothing

The Romaniacs

Alison May

‘I quake before it.’

That’s what Howard Jacobson said, earlier this year, about the challenge of writing a novel retelling Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. That’s Howard Jacobson the 2010 winner of the Man Booker Prize. Howard Jacobson, two times winner of the Wodehouse Prize for comic literature, and that Howard Jacobson is quaking before the challenge of adapting a Shakespeare play.

As you can imagine, hearing that is a tiny bit disheartening if you’re a wee little insignificant newbie writer, about to publish their first novel, based, entirely coincidentally, on a Shakespeare play. Much Ado About Sweet Nothing, out now with Choc Lit’s digital Choc Lit Lite imprint, is inspired, not surprisingly, by Much Ado About Nothing, which is a play I’ve loved since I watched Kenneth Branagh’s film version when I was a teenager, and fell a little bit in love with Emma Thompson’s sunkissed, titian-curled…

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