Edinburgh Author Maggie O'Farrell wins Women's Prize for Fiction 2020

by Rebecca Raeburn
Communications, Edinburgh
City of Literature Trust

10 September 2020

Author Maggie O'Farrell has won this year's Women's Prize for Fiction for her novel Hamnet, inspired by and named after William Shakespeare's only son.

Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet was chosen from a shortlist that included Dominicana by Angie Cruz, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel and Weather by Jenny Offill.

Maggie O'Farrell was announced as the winner in a live digital awards ceremony developed for the 25th year of the Award. The 2020 Chair of Judges, Martha Lane Fox, made the announcement live from London, while fellow judge Paula Hawkins presented O'Farrell with the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited-edition bronze figurine, in her hometown of Edinburgh.

You can watch the moment Maggie O'Farrell was announced the winner here.

Martha Lane Fox, Chair of Judges, said:

“The euphoria of being in the same room for the final judging meeting was quickly eclipsed by the excitement we all feel about this exceptional winner. Hamnet, while set long ago, like all truly great novels expresses something profound about the human experience that seems both extraordinarily current and at the same time, enduring.”

To learn more about Maggie O'Farrell's work, head over to her author website. If you'd like to buy the book, Edinburgh has a fantastic range of bookshops who are currently selling online. Find out more about some of them here.

More About the Women's Prize for Fiction

The Women’s Prize for Fiction is an annual award which celebrates the very best full length fiction written by women across the globe. Now in its 25th year, it was set up after the Booker Prize failed to include any female writers on its shortlist in 1991. It is intended to reward “excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women in English”, and has been won by novelists including Eimear McBride, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith and Andrea Levy. Find out more about the Prize and previous winners over on the website.