The Book Group will discuss New Boy by Tracy Chevalier, the bestselling author of Girl with the Pearl Earring. Two years ago, Hogarth Press which was founded by Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard, began a project to commission acclaimed contemporary authors to create modern versions of the most popular plays of Shakespeare. When approached, Tracy Chevelier briefly considered updating Romeo and Juliet, then decided to tackle the less well-known Othello. She’s set her novel during a single day on a school playground in the 1970s. The Othello character is now a black 11-year-old boy from Nigeria who is welcomed on his first day at a new school in the US by the white, very popular version of Desdemona. Shakespeare’s themes of bullying, jealousy and violence toward a person of a different race who attempts to enter a new social culture still resonate in the updated novel. In Tracy Chevalier’s words, “Four hundred years on from Shakespeare, humans have not changed much. That is why taking one of his stories and resetting it on a modern school playground was surprisingly easy–and sadly, still relevant.” This novel promises to stimulate much interesting discussion, especially in the context of the today’s Black Lives Matter movement. As always, the group meets in the church lounge, and new members are always welcome, even if only for one session!