‘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. In this episode of the How To Academy Podcast, she explores how she came to write this remarkable novel, including insights into her hands-on research into the life in Elizabethan England – from learning falconry to mudlarking along the Thames.