Women's Prize for Fiction announce their 2020 winner - and it's a must-read

Have you read it yet?

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Whether you're a convert to the best eReaders or Kindles, or prefer to get your fiction fix the old fashioned way with a paperback, there's nothing quite like settling down in front of the fire with a good book at the end of the day, or the weekend.

And between the announcement of the Booker Prize longlist, some of the most-anticipated books of the year being published in the next month, and woman&home's exciting line up of Autumn Book Club events, you certainly won't be stuck for something to read any time soon.

And now we're adding the latest winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020 to our must-read roster - the fabulous Maggie O'Farrell, who won with her historical novel Hamnet.

Women's Prize for Fiction, Maggie O'Farrell

SHOP NOW: Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell – £14.75, Amazon

In a live digital awards ceremony last night (9th September), judges crowned Maggie O'Farrell the winner of the prestigious £30,000 prize. The British-Irish novelist's eighth book beat out other bestselling novels including Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, and Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light – the two-time Booker Prize winner's third and final novel in her widely-lauded Thomas Cromwell trilogy.See the full Women's Prize for Fiction 2020 shortlist here.

Women's Prize for Fiction: What is Maggie O'Farrell's prize-winning novel about?

Set in 1596, Hamnet is Maggie O'Farrell's first historical novel. It envisions the short life of William Shakespeare's only son Hamnet, who died aged 11. An intensely moving story of a family in grief, you'll want to read this one with a box of tissues close to hand.

Women's Prize for Fiction

The book's synopsis reads,'Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker's son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves.

'Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.'

What did the judges say?

The judges for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction were,Martha Lane Fox (Chair), businesswoman, philanthropist and public servant,Scarlett Curtis, writer and activist,Melanie Eusebe, co-founder of the Black British Business Awards,Viv Groskop, author and comedian, andPaula Hawkins, international bestselling author.

MORE:The best historical books to add to your reading list in 2020

Chair of the judges, Martha Lane Fox, said of Maggie O'Farrell's winning novel: “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.”

This is definitely one to add to the growing bedside table pile. What's next on your reading list?

Kate McCusker

Kate is a freelance contributor to woman&home, covering everything she loves most: fashion, fiction, and fancy face cream. If she’s not working, she’s probably reading, feeding her online shopping addiction, or judging the taste level of celebrity houses (10/10 for Dakota Johnson, 2/10 for Tan France).

She graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2020 with a BA in fashion journalism, and her byline has also appeared in British VogueThe Times, and Marie Claire.