Maggie O’Farrell is the twenty-fifth recipient of the Women’s Fiction Prize for her novel, Hamnet, a fictional narrative of the life of William Shakespeare’s son.
Having passed away at the young age of eleven, the sixteenth century Hamnet is widely believed to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s longest play, Hamlet. It is generally assumed that the traveling lifestyle required of such a successful playwright also resulted in the guilt he felt for not being there in Stratford for the life of his son. In Hamnet, the novel, O’Farrell takes this general postulation and, with much research and literary license, delves into the emotional dynamic that was Shakespeare and his son’s relationship, and the loss thereof.
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A novel that stands on its own is marked by its ability to communicate “something profound about the human experience.” The prize proves not only exceptional writing ability and a work of meaningful proportion, but it also shows that the classics will never die. The greats are timeless in themselves, as well as in the great fiction they inspire.
Feature Image Via Entertainment Weekly