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Manga Shakespeare: Twelfth Night

Words by Richard Appignanesi

Art by Nana Li

Paperback, 208 pp, £9.99

"If music be the food of love, play on!" It is Christmas in Illyria, but Countess Olivia's household is far from merry. Her lovelorn suitor pines for her in vain; her puritanical butler spreads chilly disapproval on her drunken uncle; and even her jester is sad. But when a set of twins are shipwrecked on separate parts of the coast, the comedy of confused identity and true love that follows melts the ice and warms things up. This original manga recreation of Shakespeare's most glittering seasonal comedy relocates the action to a steampunk-inspired 19th century – the era that invented the modern Christmas.

Twelfth Night is part of Manga Shakespeare, a series of graphic novel adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays. Drawing inspiration from 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.

Nana Li

Nana Li is a Swedish concept artist and illustrator based in London. She started her artistic career by winning Tokyopop's Rising Stars of Manga competition. Since adapting Twelfth Night for SelfMadeHero's Manga Shakespeare series, Nana Li has moved into the games industry. She has worked on a number of prestigious projects in the fields of games and animation, from Moshi Monsters and World of Warriors to Doctor Who and LEGO

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