Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet: Edinburgh Author Wins Book Award


A novel inspired by Shakespeare’s son by Edinburgh-based author Maggie O’Farrell has received an award voted by booksellers as Waterstones Book of the Year.

Set in Stratford-upon-Avon in the 16th-century, Hamnet was originally intended as a book about father and son.

Only a few years after the death of his only son, who died from the plague at the age of 11, Shakespeare wrote his tragedy, Hamlet.

But after learning that Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, had been maligned by history, O’Farrell changed direction.

Analysis of Books: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

According to the Edinburgh-based poet, Hathaway, who was older than the Bard and married him when she was pregnant, was depicted by “scholars, novelists and scriptwriters” as a “illiterate peasant” from whom Shakespeare “fled to London,”

“I was outraged on behalf of the woman we know as Anne Hathaway because I feel she was treated with that kind of hostility, just blatant misogyny,” added the novelist.

“overjoyed” is Maggie O’Farrell

But now, after Hamnet was named the Waterstones Book of the Year, O’Farrell is “overjoyed”

She said, “It is a great honor to be included in this list, especially knowing that the most discerning readers, the booksellers, are nominated for the award.”

“Without their expert advice and knowledge, my reading shelves would be a lot poorer.”

For our booksellers, Hamnet is obviously the standout title – a work of immense style and emotional weight that is sure to be a future classic,” said Bea Carvalho, fiction buyer at Waterstones.”

Earlier, the book won the Women’s Literature Award.

The title they recommended most to their customers throughout the year was voted on by Waterstones booksellers.


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