Book of the Week

Lunatics, Lovers And Poets: Twelve Stories After Cervantes And Shakespeare, edited by Daniel Hahn and Margarita Valencia. Photo: PA Photo/and Other Stories.
Lunatics, Lovers And Poets: Twelve Stories After Cervantes And Shakespeare, edited by Daniel Hahn and Margarita Valencia. Photo: PA Photo/and Other Stories.

Lunatics, Lovers And Poets: Twelve Stories After Cervantes And Shakespeare, edited by Daniel Hahn and Margarita Valencia.

Some of the brightest lights of contemporary fiction celebrate the timelessness of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes in a collection of short stories to mark the 400th anniversary of both men’s deaths.

Salman Rushdie introduces a dozen fascinating original takes by writers including Nigeria’s Ben Okri, Colombia’s Juan Gabriel Vasquez and Britain’s Deborah Levy, in a book organised by &Other Stories and the Hay Festival.

Writers have been taking inspiration (and sometimes more) from Shakespeare and Don Quixote author Cervantes for centuries, but nonetheless, these stories still manage to be fresh and exciting.

Much of this comes from the diversity of writer backgrounds on show, and their style and traditions add a wealth of interpretation and perspective.

A personal favourite was Mir Aslam of Kolachi, a poignant take on contemporary and historic Islam by Pakistan-born novelist Kamila Shamsie. It’s a fitting tribute to two of history’s best.