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Julia, a feminist retelling of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, has been approved by the estate of the late author and has found publishers in both North America and the U.K., with some reports claiming that the upcoming novel is already being eyed for an on-screen adaptation.
Julia, written by Sandra Newman, will be told from the perspective of the female character of the same name in the original 1984, which focused on male protagonist Winston.
Opening with one of literature’s most famous lines – “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” – Orwell’s 1949 novel is set in a dystopian future where Great Britain, known as Airstrip One, is part of the totalitarian state of Oceania. Big Brother rules supreme and the Thought Police stamp out any individual thinking. Winston Smith works at The Ministry of Truth, rewriting history to suit Big Brother’s narrative. He starts a forbidden affair with Julia – who works on the novel-writing machines in the Fiction Department – until both are captured and sent for re-education via Room 101.
The novel will be published in North America by Mariner Books, which has been a longtime publisher of Orwell novels. Granta Books has secured the rights to the novel in the U.K.
Orwell’s estate said it had been “looking for some time” for an author to tell the story of Smith’s lover, and that Newman, who has previously been longlisted for the Women’s prize and shortlisted for the Guardian first book award, “proved to be the perfect fit”. Julia will be published after Granta releases Newman’s new novel The Men – in which every single person with a Y chromosome vanishes from the world – next June.
While the original 1984 was published by Orwell in 1949, the book has been adapted twice into films, in 1956 and 1984. A 2013 broadway adaptation of the novel was optioned in January to become a five-part limited series for the independent studio wiip. The novel has sold over 30 million copies since its release, and has topped bestseller lists as recently as January.