This event will take place off-site at the Irving Theater in the CODE Building (225 W. Water St.) and will be free to attend. Please use the theater entrance on Water St. Doors will open at 1:00 PM.
Join us for an afternoon with New York Times–bestselling author Maggie O’Farrell, who will read from her new novel, The Marriage Portrait. An audience Q&A will follow. This in-person event will be free and open to the public. We recommend arriving early for the best seating. Signed copies of Maggie O’Farrell’s books, including The Marriage Portrait and Hamnet, will be available for sale before and after the event.
About the Book: The author of Hamnet—New York Times bestseller and National Book Award winner—brings the world of Renaissance Italy to jewel-bright life in this unforgettable portrait of the captivating young duchess Lucrezia de’ Medici as she makes her way in a troubled court.
Florence, the 1550s. Lucrezia, third daughter of the grand duke, is comfortable with her obscure place in the palazzo: free to wonder at its treasures, observe its clandestine workings, and devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of her wedding to the ruler of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: the duke is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father just as quick to accept on her behalf.
Having barely left girlhood behind, Lucrezia must now enter an unfamiliar court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her new husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appeared to be before their wedding, the aesthete happiest in the company of artists and musicians, or the ruthless politician before whom even his formidable sisters seem to tremble?
As Lucrezia sits in constricting finery for a painting intended to preserve her image for centuries to come, one thing becomes worryingly clear. In the court’s eyes, she has one duty: to provide the heir who will shore up the future of the Ferranese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, the new duchess’s future hangs entirely in the balance.
With the same drama and verve with which she illuminated the Shakespearean canvas of Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell turns her talents to Renaissance Italy in an extraordinary portrait of a resilient young woman’s battle for her very survival.
About the Author: Maggie O’Farrell was born in Northern Ireland in 1972. Her novels include Hamnet (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award), After You’d Gone, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, The Hand That First Held Mine (winner of the Costa Novel Award), and Instructions for a Heatwave. She has also written a memoir, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death. She lives in Edinburgh.
The Marriage Portrait will be released on September 6. If you would like to pre-order the book to read before the event, please see below for the New Dominion Bookshop book order form or call the shop at 434-295-2552. There is no need to pre-order the book if you plan to attend the event and purchase the book in person.
"O’Farrell has a melodic relationship to language."
New Dominion Bookshop Book Order Form
Shop local and support your community bookstore! Order books from New Dominion Bookshop by filling out the contact form below. Please make sure that you list the book title(s) that you would like to order. We will give you a call when your order is ready. If you are placing a pre-order for a book that has not yet been released, your book will be ready on or soon after the book’s release date. There is no need to pre-pay. We will collect your payment when you pick up your order or when your order is shipped.
Maggie O’Farrell Photo Credit: Murdo Macleod