Maggie O'Farrell: The Marriage Portrait

Maggie O'Farrell: The Marriage Portrait

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Women's prize winning novelist Maggie O'Farrell will discuss The Marriage Portrait, her follow-up to Hamnet, set in Renaissance Italy.

About this event

In 2020, O’Farrell won the Women’s Prize for fiction with Hamnet, a moving fictionalisation of the death of Shakespeare’s son. In The Marriage Portrait she imagines the lost story of another historical figure - Lucrezia de’ Medici, an educated and artistic woman living in 1560s Florence.

At 15, Lucrezia marries the Duke of Ferrara, a man almost twice her age, and is thrust into the limelight in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Most mystifying of all is her husband himself, who at times appears a playful sophisticate and at others a ruthless and feared politician.

De’ Medici’s short life inspired Robert Browning’s poem “My Last Duchess”, in which a Duke reflects on the portrait of his wife. O’Farrell’s novel imagines Lucrezia sitting for the painting, contemplating her single duty to provide an heir for the Duke. Just as Hamnet evoked the world of Shakespeare’s England, The Marriage Portrait brings the world of Renaissance Italy to jewel-bright life.

You can join this event in-person, or via the livestream. Tickets are £25 to attend the event, or £7 to watch it online. See tickets for further details.

Running time: 60 minutes

Closed captions will be available for this event.

If you live in the United Kingdom, you can purchase a ticket with a copy of The Marriage Portrait at checkout for a special combined price. Books for livestream customers will be shipped on publication day, 30 August.

This event will be hosted on a third-party live streaming platform. You will receive a link to join the event in the week prior to the event.

After registering, please refer to your confirmation email for access to the event.

This event is in-person and being streamed globally.

8pm BST | 9pm CEST | 12pm PDT | 3pm EDT

Or see this time zone converter to check your local live streaming time.

If you are unable to join at the time of streaming, this event will be available to watch on demand in the days following. A link to the recording will be sent to all ticket holders.

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