Updating the Classic

I just the following article on the CBC.ca website:

Writers challenged to update Wind in the Willows on its 100th birthday

The 100th anniversary of Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows will be celebrated with a competition to write a modern version of the children’s classic.

The River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, in Britain has launched a writing competition that challenges authors to put a modern take on Grahame’s themes.

“Kenneth Grahame knew all about the power of the river on the imagination, and on our real lives,” museum representative Paul Mainds told BBC.

“This competition gives authors the opportunity to re-animate these themes and make them more relevant for today’s young readers, especially in light of the environmental issues that now affect our rivers and the wildlife that lives in and around them.”

Writers are challenged to pen a “river-related” short story “for our times.”

The museum, on the river Thames, has a permanent exhibition dedicated to Wind in the Willows.

Grahame’s tale of the adventures of Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger was published Oct. 8, 1908, four months after he left his job at the Bank of England….

The news of this competition made me wonder about Anne of Green Gables, which was published less than four months before Wind in the Willows. If there were a competition to write a modern version of this novel, how would it be done? What would need to be updated, changed, altered, or reemphasized?

One Reply to “Updating the Classic”

  1. I would hope that no one would ever try and update it…I cant believe they’re doing it with Wind in the Willows. What would Anne say? :> She’d cry sacrilege! To update them it would be a matter of changing some surface things; technologies, religious views, slang and gender roles. But doing that or anything else would be horrible. I believe that what has made the books so popular all these decades is their ‘Shakespearian’ truths. No matter what era they belong to, the books reflect human nature as it is. Comedy mixed up with tragedy…and let’s hope that will never change!

Comments are closed.