“I don’t know why biographers and scholars and screenwriters and other novelists are determined to give Shakespeare a kind of retrospective divorce. They’re so determined to tell us this narrative that he hated her, that she was a peasant, she was illiterate, she tricked him into marriage. … And actually, I don’t think any of it is necessarily true.”
In the novel, Agnes is an independent woman, an expert in medicinal herbs who hunts with a hawk.
As research, O’Farrell visited Anne Hathaway’s house near Stratford-upon-Avon, made remedies from home-grown herbs and learned to fly a kestrel — “the most fun thing I’ve ever done in the name of work.”
Founded in 1996, the Women’s Prize is open to female English-language writers from around the world.
Tech entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, who chaired this year’s judging panel, said “’Hamnet,’ while set long ago, like all truly great novels expresses something profound about the human experience that seems both…