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23
May

Hay Festival: Maggie O'Farrell talks to Peter Florence

Maggie O'Farrell talks to Peter Florence about her latest acclaimed novel, Hamnet.

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Saturday 23rd May, 2020 @ 1:00 pm

  • In Conversation
  • Questions & Answers
  • Talk

Free

About the Event

Maggie O'Farrell talks to Peter Florence about her latest acclaimed novel, Hamnet - shortlisted for the Women's Prize in Fiction. 

On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker's son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

Maggie O'Farrell is the author of the memoir I Am, I Am, I Am, and eight novels: After You'd Gone, My Lover's Lover, The Distance Between Us, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox, The Hand That First Held Mine, which won the 2010 Costa Novel Award, Instructions For A Heatwave, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award, This Must Be The Place, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Novel Award, and Hamnet.

This event is live and there will be a Q&A afterwards.

About the Book

Hamnet
Hamnet

Maggie O'Farrell

Publisher:Headline Publishing Group

Publication date:31 Mar 2020

ISBN:9781472223791

4.21 out of 5
16 reviews
"Nobody writes more movingly about intimate family relationships, especially children, than O'Farrell, who is that rarest of writers; a genuine literary/commercial crossover"
The Bookseller
"a visceral, lushly drawn story"
Red
"The death of the Bard’s son prompts this powerful novel about parental grief"
The Sunday Times
"It's a beautifully written novel but I confess I read it with a faint impatience"
Evening Standard
"Immersive, at times shockingly intimate, and triumphantly brought to fruition, this is a work that ought to win prizes"
The Guardian
"It’s a novel that ultimately feels precious and worthy — something Shakespeare never was"
The Times
"A fictionalised account of the short life of Shakepeare’s son, Hamnet, is a work of profound understanding"
The Observer
"a sensual retelling of Shakespeare’s turbulent family life"
The Daily Telegraph
"a remarkable piece of work"
The Scotsman
"(a) heartbreaking, beautifully written story"
Daily Mail

Told in Maggie O'Farrell's unique voice, HAMNET reveals for the first time in fiction the story of heartbreaking loss which inspired Shakespeare's most celebrated play