Books Uncovered: “Hamnet”

Books Uncovered:

Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Join The Huntington for an all new, virtual book club. This three-part series takes you Beyond the Book into the world of Maggie O’Farrell’s award-winning novel, Hamnet. We will begin the series with a book group discussion facilitated by Julie Robinson, creator of Literary Affairs. We dive deeper into Shakespeare’s world in conversation with Vanessa Wilkie, curator of Medieval Manuscripts and British History, Cara Hanstein, head gardener of the Children’s Garden, and Elee Wood, director of education at The Huntington. We will then round off the series with a virtual cooking class inspired by Tudor period cookbooks with Maite Gomez-Rejón of ArtBites.

The event will be held online via Zoom at 5 pm PST on Jan. 13, 20, and 27. Zoom link, recipes, and link to purchase the book will be sent to attendees in registration confirmation email. Registration includes all three days of the series. (members $125; non-members $150)


Wednesday, January 13
Wednesday, January 20
Wednesday, January 27

5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.


$125 for members of The Huntington. $150 for non-members. Registration includes all three days of the series.

Zoom link, recipes, and link to purchase the book will be sent to attendees in registration confirmation email.


Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, Maggie O’Farrell grew up in Wales and Scotland and now lives in London. She has worked as a waitress, chambermaid, bike messenger, teacher, arts administrator, and journalist in Hong Kong and London, and as the deputy literary editor of The Independent on Sunday. Her debut novel, After You’d Gone (2000) won a Betty Trask Award and was followed by My Lover’s Lover (2002); The Distance Between Us (2004), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox (2006); The Hand That First Held Mine (2010), winner of the Costa Novel Award; Instructions for a Heatwave (2013), and, most recently, This Must Be the Place (2016).


In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.

A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down — a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.