Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrel, Shortlisted for the Dalkey Novel of the Year Award 2021

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.

Maggie O Farrell bookcover

About: Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden 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 Hamnet will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright: a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.


The Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller

Winner of the Books Are My Bag Reader's Choice Award

Shortlisted, An Post Novel of the Year

A BBC Best Book of 2020

The Guardian, best fiction of 2020

The Telegraph, best novels of 2020

The Times, best historical fiction books of the year 2020

Judges comments

“Incredibly moving and beautifully written, this bewitching novel brings alive the era – the smell, sight and sound of the city streets and also of the surrounding countryside.  About family, love and grief, it is a totally immersive novel. Intimate, intense, devastating.”

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