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'Remix Pride and Prejudice as a drum and bass anthem', says children's laureate

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the works of Jane Austen do not necessarily appeal to teens – but could that change if they were remixed as a rap? 

Teenagers are being encouraged by Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman (pictured) to use classic works such as The Hound of the Baskervilles or Pride and Prejudice to kick-start their own music, film, writing or art work.

Ms Blackman said: “Imagine [Jane] Austen’s Pride and Prejudice remixed into a drum and bass anthem or saxophone solo or Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games reimagined as a vibrant comic strip.

“Teenagers are some of the most passionate, dynamic and creative people I know. Yet too often this creative spark is left to flicker precariously and sometimes fade entirely.”

Project Remix is a nationwide competition to find the best young writers, musicians, film-makers and illustrators. To enter, students aged 13 to 19 are asked to pick one of a selected group of books and use it as inspiration.

Speaking to the TES, Ms Blackman, who will be judging the entries, said: “We don’t want people to simply rehash or rework the stories, that is not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for something inspired by the story. Most people in creative industries were inspired by the work of others to get started.

“I don’t have a problem with people using my work as a basis for creating their own thing. 

“I was inspired by Chocky by John Wyndham. I read it when I was about 10 and that led me to science fiction. When I started writing I loved crime stories and thrillers so my first novels were thrillers. Then when I was writing Noughts and Crosses, I didn’t do it consciously but about halfway through I realised it was like Romeo and Juliet.

“This project is saying look at this list of classic stories, poems, graphic novels and take one which can inspire you to write music or design a book cover, to create your own work.”

The winners will get an insider experience in their chosen industry, either at a music studio, book publisher, the BBC or the Phoenix comic offices.

The project is run by the charity Booktrust and publisher Penguin Random House. 

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New Children’s Laureate is announced  – 7 June 2013

TES webchat with Malorie Blackman

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