Press Releases

Now in paperback, HAG-SEED by Margaret Atwood

A Novel

Now in paperback, HAG-SEED by Margaret Atwood


Margaret Atwood
  • Imprint: Hogarth
  • On sale: May 16, 2017
  • Price: $15.00
  • Pages: 320
  • ISBN: 9780804141314
Contact: Liz Wetzel

BESTSELLING, award-winning author Margaret Atwood retells one of Shakespeare’s
most stirring plays, THE TEMPEST.


by Margaret Atwood

*Winner of the NBCC Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award*
**Longlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction**

“A marvel of gorgeous yet economical prose, in the service of a story that’s utterly heartbreaking yet pierced by humor, with a plot that retains considerable subtlety even as the original’s back story falls neatly into place.”
New York Times Book Review

“What makes the book thrilling, and hugely pleasurable, is how closely Atwood hews to Shakespeare even as she casts her own potent charms, rap-composition included. . . . Part Shakespeare, part Atwood, Hag-Seed is a most delicate monster—and that’s ‘delicate’ in the 17th-century sense. It’s delightful.”
Boston Globe

“Atwood has designed an ingenious doubling of the plot of The Tempest: Felix, the usurped director, finds himself cast by circumstances as a real-life version of Prospero, the usurped Duke. If you know the play well, these echoes grow stronger when Felix decides to exact his revenge by conjuring up a new version of The Tempest designed to overwhelm his enemies.”
—Washington Post

“If you’re in line for a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a revenge play fueled by treachery, foolishness, grief, and magic: Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed is your ticket. . . . The visionary Atwood’s daring and elaborate twenty-first-century take, set in a Canada prison in the boondocks, will make you shiver and squirm with dread, wonder, and delight.”

The Hogarth Shakespeare series, an international publishing initiative across the Penguin Random House Group, has thus far published three retellings of the Bard’s most renowned plays: The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson, Shylock Is My Name by Howard Jacobson, and Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler. The Financial Times has called the Hogarth Shakespeare series “A magnificent set of commissions” while the Wall Street Journal has exclaimed that it is “the project best showcasing Shakespeare’s relevance to today.”

Margaret Atwood has joined Hogarth Shakespeare and conjured the ultimate revenge tale in HAG-SEED (Hogarth; May 16, 2017), now in paperback. Atwood, whose work has been published in more than thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, recently adapted for series television by MGM and Hulu (released on April 26, 2017), her novels include Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, and which Netflix is now adapting into a six-hour miniseries; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; and the MaddAddam trilogy: Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam. Her most recent novel, The Heart Goes Last, was lauded by critics and is now in development with MGM for a series television adaptation, marking the studio’s second collaboration with Atwood. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award, along with many other accolades. Her work has earned her a place as “one of the most impressively ambitious writers of our time” (The Guardian).

HAG-SEED, a dark, fantastical retelling of one of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable plays, The Tempest, revolves around one betrayed man’s plot for vengeance—a scheme as innovative as it is deadly—set within the confines of a prison, rather than on an island. Felix was at the top of his game as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival, staging a Tempest like no other; not only would it boost his reputation, it would heal the emotional wound caused by the death of his young daughter, Miranda. As Atwood writes, This Tempest would be brilliant: the best thing he’d ever done. He had been­—he realizes now—unhealthily obsessed with it. It was like the Taj Mahal, an ornate mausoleum raised in honor of a beloved shade, or a priceless jeweled casket containing ashes. But more than that, because inside the charmed bubble he was creating, his Miranda would live again. All the more crushing for him when it had fallen apart. In an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix was suddenly deposed by his deceitful assistant and his production was canceled, leaving him heartbroken and living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his lost daughter.

Finally, after twelve years of waiting, Felix devises a plan for retribution. He’s making a modest success teaching the Literacy Through Theatre course at the nearby Fletcher Correctional Institute when an auspicious star brings his enemies within reach. Felix and his inmate actors will stage The Tempest and ensnare the traitors who destroyed him. With the help of their own interpretations, digital effects, and the talents of a professional actress and choreographer, the Fletcher Correctional Players prepare for the roles of a lifetime. It’s magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall?

Delving into the constructs of family, loyalty, and ownership, HAG-SEED brings to life this canonical play with a modern twist sure to delight readers. As Atwood explains, “The Tempest is, in some ways, an early multi-media musical. If Shakespeare were working today he’d be using every special effect technology now makes available. But The Tempest is especially intriguing because of the many questions it leaves unanswered. What a strenuous pleasure it has been to wrestle with it!”

Related Posts:

The Crown Publishing Group