Maggie O’Farrell: ‘The best book you’ll write is the one shouting the loudest, tugging your sleeve’

The Irish-born author, who has followed up her acclaimed 2020 novel Hamnet with another absorbing foray into historical fiction set in the 1500s, insists that outside opinion never influences what she writes

Maggie O’Farrell: In her latest novel The Marriage Plot, the author has remained in the 1500s but moved to Florence in Italy. Picture: Getty

When Maggie O’Farrell published her 2020 novel Hamnet, the story of the death of William Shakespeare’s son from bubonic plague, nobody could have imagined it would become the defining literary sensation of a world locked down and in hiding from another plague, Covid-19. The book went on to sell more than half a million copies in America, and won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, as well as the Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

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