Sun, 18 April 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST

Zoom

Maggie O’Farrell – The Story of Hamnet

In Conversation With Hannah MacInnes

‘The story of Hamnet Shakespeare has been waiting in the shadows for over four hundred years. Maggie O’Farrell brings it dazzlingly, devastatingly, into the light’ – Kamila Shamsie

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.

The winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 and a Sunday Times bestseller, Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet 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.

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 flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; a kestrel and its mistress; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves.

Praise for Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet:

‘A bold undertaking, beautifully imagined and written’ Claire Tomalin

‘Maggie O’Farrell is a miracle in every sense’ Ann Patchett

‘Grief and loss so finely written I could hardly bear to read it’ Sarah Moss

‘Heart-stopping. Hamnet does for the Shakespeare story what Jean Rhys did for Jane Eyre’ Patrick Gayle

‘I don’t know how anyone could fail to love this book. It is a marvel’ Dominic Dromgoole

‘Exquisite, immersive and compelling… deserves to win prizes’ Marian Keyes

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Maggie O’Farrell

Bestselling Author and Memoirist

Maggie O’Farrell is the author of the Sunday Times no. 1 bestselling 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. She lives in Edinburgh.

Hannah MacInnes

Presenter, Podcaster and Host of How To Academy’s live programmes.

Hannah MacInnes is a broadcaster and journalist. Alongside hosting How To Academy’s live programmes and podcast, she presents a cultural show on Times Radio and interviews on-stage at a number of other major literary events. She is the host of The Klosters Forum Podcast series and has written for the Radio Times, the Evening Standard and TLS. Before going freelance she worked for 8 years at BBC Newsnight, as Planning Editor and as a Producer / Filmmaker.