Poets & Writers

Classic Meets Graphic

In late 2016 artist Fred Fordham was having coffee with his agent. “Glancing around conspiratorially,” Fordham recalls, “she passed me a notebook in which she had written, ‘How would you like to do some sample pages for a graphic novel of To Kill a Mockingbird?’” A few weeks later, Fordham met with the team at Penguin Random House UK, who asked him to adapt and illustrate Harper Lee’s iconic coming-of-age story. The result, To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel, was published in October by Penguin Random House UK and HarperCollins in the United States.

Fordham’s agent (2010), Paulo Coelho’s (2010), and Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” (2013). Farrar, Straus and Giroux has tackled the (2006) and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (2016), while Square Fish, a children’s imprint of Macmillan, has taken on Madeleine L’Engle’s (2012). There have been graphic versions of Shakespeare’s (Hachette, 2006), Marcel Proust’s (Norton, 2015), and Homer’s (Bloomsbury, 2012). Penguin Random House’s graphic novelization of Margaret Atwood’s is set to come out in March 2019. And those are just the titles put out by major publishers; many indie houses have been releasing graphic adaptations of classics for years.

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