Round-Up: THE BELL JAR’s New Cinematic Adaptation, a Reading at Oscar Wilde’s Prison, and PEN America’s New Awards

From a new film adaptation of The Bell Jar to a massive reading in honor of Oscar Wilde, here are last week’s biggest literary stories:

  • Actress Kirsten Dunst is directing an adaptation of the classic Sylvia Plath novel, The Bell Jar. Plath’s only novel, it was first published in 1963. This will be Kirsten Dunst’s first time directing a full-length film. In addition to directing, Dunst also co-wrote the screenplay with Nellie Kim. Dakota Fanning has been tapped to play Esther Greenwood, the heroine of the novel. Production is scheduled to begin in 2017.

  • Performance art group Artangel is organizing an extraordinary literary event in honor of Oscar Wilde. “Inside—Artists and Writers in Reading Prison,” comprised of readings and exhibitions, will occur from September 4 through October 30 in the very prison where Oscar Wilde served for “indecency.” The event will include a reading of Oscar Wilde’s “De Profundis,” a piece he wrote while there. Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, and Ploughshares guest editor Colm Tóibín are among those slated to participate. The event marks the first time that the prison will be open to the public.

  • This past week, PEN America announced two new awards: the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Oral History. The PEN/Jean Stein Book Award will be given to “a book that has broken new ground and signals strong potential for lasting influence.” The award will come with a $75,000 monetary prize, making it the largest prize offered by PEN America. The PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Oral History will offer $10,000 in support of a nonfiction piece which incorporates oral history.

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