We are honoured to welcome the masterminds behind some of the most ground-breaking literature from across the world this year. The quest for answers, for truths, to make sense of these troubling times, can be as plagued with anxiety as the issues themselves.
With fake news, dry political broadcasts and social media rants clouding our perspectives. But the best stories – the ones that linger in the memory long after the last page is turned – allow us to process big issues slowly, sub-consciously.
These are the stories which teach us more about ourselves and the world we live in. That give us those joyous moments of clarity and understanding. That not only put us in the shoes of others, but helps us feel the tingling of another’s skin. Enjoy!
Edinburgh-based writer Maggie O'Farrell has produced her finest novel to date with Hamnet, and it turns out to be remarkably topical too.
Hamnet is set in Stratford in the late-16th century, at a time when bubonic plague is on the rise across England. The central character in the book, Hamnet, is one of Shakespeare's three children. His twin sister Julia has fallen ill and he is desperately trying to find his mother Agnes.
Alongside a story of sickness, it's a way of looking at Shakespeare's emerging success as a playwright and his guilt as an absent father. O'Farrell's exquisite depiction of motherly love and her ability to construct a compelling narrative are masterful in this short but deeply moving novel.