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English honors seminar class rewrites The Great Gatsby in the style of fan fiction

Dec 07, 2020
Gilded in Ash cover

With its copyright set to expire, the literary classic is being reimagined by University of Iowa students in what’s thought to be a first-of-its-kind class.

Story: Emily Nelson

Illustration: Haley Triem

In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald published The Great Gatsby, a work that would come to be regarded as a defining novel of the 20th century, finding itself a perennial inclusion in high school curricula and the subject of numerous stage and film interpretations.

Nearly 100 years later, 19 University of Iowa students are collectively rewriting the 1920s literary classic in the spirit of a 2020s popular genre: fan fiction.

The book’s copyright expires at the end of 2020, meaning anyone will be able to publish the book, write a prequel, or adapt it any way they wish. The Iowa students’ version, Gilded in Ash, will be published online early in the new year by Iowa’s Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio, complete with new cover art.