Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet: A Book Club Event
Please join Dr. Ariane Helou for a discussion of Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet, the award-winning novel that imagines the life of Agnes Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare.
Dr. Ariane Helou will make a short presentation about the novel and then lead a discussion of the novel with participants. The event will be moderated by Julia Lupton. We encourage you to read the novel in advance of the session.
"Hamnet is an exploration of marriage and grief written into the silent opacities of a life that is at once extremely famous and profoundly obscure... In Hamnet, Shakespeare's marriage is complicated and troubled, yet brimming with love and passion... This novel is at once about the transfiguration of life into art-- it is O'Farrell's extended speculation on how Hamnet's death might have fueled the creation of one of his father's greatest plays-- and at the same time, it is a master class in how she, herself does it... O'Farrell has a melodic relationship to language."
--Geraldine Brooks, the New York Times Book Review
Dr. Ariane Helou’s research focuses on drama, music, and poetry in early modern Italy, England, and France. Dr. Helou was a faculty member at UCLA in the department of French & Francophone Studies, and at UC Santa Cruz (where she also earned her PhD in Literature) in Theater Arts, Classical Studies, and French. Dr. Helou has held fellowships from the Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies; the Huntington Library; and UCLA’s William Andrews Clark Memorial Library & Center for 17th– and 18th-Century Studies, among others. She currently works as a grant writer at Caltech’s Beckman Institute. Dr. Helou has published research on Shakespeare and early modern Italian drama; work currently in progress includes, with co-editor Julia R. Lupton, Romeo and Juliet, Adaptation and the Arts: Cut Him Out in Little Stars (forthcoming from The Arden Shakespeare). She is also a translator; a dramaturg; and a performing artist whose background spans early music, theater, and opera. Ariane was a company member of the Santa Cruz Shakespeare festival from 2012 to 2020, and served as dramaturg for LA Opera’s landmark streaming production of The Anonymous Lover by Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. She is Associate Artistic Producer of the choral ensemble Artes Vocales and Dramaturg/Producer of the Los Angeles-based theater company Collaborative Artists Bloc.
This event is a co-production of the Shakespeare Workshop at UC, Santa Cruz and the New Swan Shakespeare Center at UC, Irvine.