Thursday, April 25, 2024

Books Over Coffee: “To be, or not to be: that is the question”


Maggie O’Farrell’s “Hamnet” Discussed on April 28th

Stratford Library Sets Zoom Book Talk

The Stratford Library “Books Over Coffee” program continues with an online discussion of Maggie O’Farrell’s award-winning bestseller, Hamnet, on Wednesday, April 28th from 12-1 p.m.  The online Zoom program, will be hosted by Linda LiDestri.  The book talk is free and open to the public.

Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play (Hamlet), Hamnet is a luminous portrait of a marriage and, at its heart, the loss of a beloved child.  A 2020 novel by Maggie O’Farrell, It is a fictional account of Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, who died at age 11 in 1596.

Set in Warwickshire in the 1580s during a deadly pandemic, the novel introduces Agnes, a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts.  She settles with her husband in Henley Street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, a victim of the devastating plague of the time. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called “Hamlet”.

It won the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Fiction Prize at the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Awards.  In December 2020, Emily Temple of Literary Hub reported that the novel had made 15 lists of the best books of 2020. It was also shortlisted for the 2021 Walter Scott Prize and longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Limited reading copies of Hamnet are available for loan at the library’s Circulation Desk.  All “Books Over Coffee” titles are available at the Library or on Kindle eReaders for loan.  Patrons can also download the eBook or audiobook through the OverDrive app at the Library.  The current “Books Over Coffee” schedule through August 2021 is available at the Library.

For further information, call the Library at: 203.385-4162 or register online and receive an invitation link for Hamnet at:


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