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Manga Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Words by Richard Appignanesi

Art by Kate Brown

Paperback, 208 pp, £9.99

"The course of true love never did run smooth," complains Lysander, little realising how right he is about to be proved. A fusion of classic Shakespeare with manga visuals, this is a cutting-edge adaptation about four young Athenian lovers and a troupe of amateur actors. Frustrated by modern-day Athens' enduring restrictions and hierarchies, the lovers find their hearts' desire in an enchanted moonlit forest, home to mischievous fairies and spirits. Chaos reigns as jealousy and a powerful love potion combine, plunging all of the characters into romantic turmoil.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is part of Manga Shakespeare, a series of graphic novel adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays. Drawing inspiration from trend-setting Japan and using Shakespeare's original texts, this series – adapted by Richard Appignanesi and illustrated by leading manga artists – brings to life the great Bard's words for students, Shakespeare enthusiasts and manga fans.

Kate Brown

Kate Brown is a comics artist and illustrator. Her stories have been published in the Best New Manga series – a publication of cutting edge international manga – and The Girly Comic, among others. A graduate of England's only Sequential Illustration course, specialising in graphic novels, her books include The Spider Moon, which was published by Random House.

Richard Appignanesi

Richard Appignanesi is a PhD graduate in classical art history. He was a founder and co-director of the Writers & Readers Publishing Cooperative, and later of Icon Books Ltd, where he served as originating editor of the internationally acclaimed illustrated Beginners and Introducing series, to which he contributed his own bestselling titles, Freud, Postmodernism, Existentialism and others. A former executive editor of the art journal Third Text, reviews editor of Futures and exhibition curator, Richard is the author of the fiction trilogy Italia Perversa, the novel Yukio Mishima’s Report to the Emperor and the Granta title What do Existentialists Believe? For SelfMadeHero, he adapted the texts for the Manga Shakespeare series, as well as The Wolf Man and Hysteria in the Graphic Freud series.


"If I have my way, comics will play their part in the literacy debate. My son has no interest in English at school, but has devoured three Manga Shakespeare graphic novels, plus the graphic novel of Kafka's The Trial.
— Ian Rankin
"This series does in book form what film director Baz Luhrmann did on screen – make Shakespeare cool and accessible to a younger generation… [the] artists use the dynamic flow of manga to give Shakespeare's plots an addictive page-turning energy."
— Independent on Sunday