Jan 6, 2023
As tons of us in the Jen Hatmaker Book Club can agree, a good book is a bit of a refuge at any time of the year, but especially in the swirl of the holidays. It's just stealing away minutes for our mind to not be thinking about planning and gifting and gatherings and shopping and cooking–not to mention expectations and the pressure to reinvent ourselves in the New Year. But getting to bury our nose in a book or even playing an audiobook has a way of transporting us to a different place entirely and giving us a break. This month we had the wonderful book Hamnet for that fleeting mental retreat we all need around this time of year. We’re getting to talk to Maggie O’Farrell, the amazing author of this atmospheric and emotional book. Maggie is an incredible novelist. She's the winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction in 2020 and her memoir, I Am, I Am which was a New York Times number one bestseller. Not only is she highly awarded with her adult fiction titles, she is also a beloved children's book writer. Even this interview was a bit of transport to another place as Maggie spoke to us in person from Edinburgh in Scotland. She and Jen discuss the book, their shared love of reading, started at an early age, and how amazing it is to find new stories to be told from the classic works of Shakespeare. If you’re not already a member of the book club, there’s so much more to discover in the conversations around amazing books we’re reading together. Jump on over to jenhatmakerbookclub.com after this episode to sign up!
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“For me the purpose was to put Hamnet center stage and to say to my readers, this boy was important. His life was short, it was hugely significant. And without this child we would not have Hamlet and we probably wouldn't have Twelfth Night.” - Maggie O’ Farrell
“The biggest drama of Shakespeare's real life happened off stage, and that's back in Stratford-upon-Avon–the death of his son. So I wanted to focus on that life rather than the one in London that we've seen many times and in many other novels, films and TV series.” - Maggie O’ Farrell
“I think we all have our own version of Shakespeare in our heads, don't we? And they're all different, and I think that's fine.I think that's partly why he's of such enduring fascination because he's still open to so many new interpretations.” - Maggie O’ Farrell
Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
I Am, I Am Book
The Boy Who Lost His Spark Children’s Book
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