This Book Event has already taken place

Maggie O'Farrell – The Marriage Portrait

At: The Portobello Bookshop

On:8th September 2022, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Maggie O'Farrell – The Marriage Portrait at The Portobello Bookshop

We're absolutely delighted that Maggie O'Farrell will be here in the bookshop for an event in celebration of her highly-anticipated new novel, The Marriage Portrait. We're huge fans of Maggie's work and we cannot wait for her intricate storytelling to immerse us all in the world of Lucrezia de' Medici and 1560s Florence. Maggie will be in conversation with fellow writer, Mary Paulson-Ellis.

We are planning for this event to take place in the bookshop with an in-person audience, as well as a livestream for attendees watching from home.

Please note that vouchers can be used on any item in the bookshop and on our website – including books by Maggie O'Farrell. Please consider supporting the bookshop by purchasing a book or voucher.

About The Marriage Portrait:

'I thought I had made myself clear. I want something that conveys her majesty, her bloodline. Do you understand? She is no ordinary mortal. Treat her thus.'

Florence, the 1560s. Lucrezia, third daughter of Cosimo de' Medici, is free to wander the palazzo at will, wondering at its treasures and observing its clandestine workings. But when her older sister dies on the eve of marriage to Alfonso d'Este, heir to the Duke of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: Alfonso is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father to accept on her behalf.

Having barely left girlhood, Lucrezia must now make her way in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appears 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 uncomfortable finery for the painting which is 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 Ferrarese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, her future hangs entirely in the balance.

Maggie O’Farrell is the author of the Sunday Times no. 1 bestselling novel Hamnet, which was Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 and the Waterstones Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Hamnet has been translated into 32 languages, spent 38 weeks in the UK top ten and has been optioned for film by Stephen Spielberg’s Amblin productions. She wrote the no. 1 bestselling memoir I Am, I Am, I Am, and the novels After You'd GoneMy Lover's LoverThe Distance Between Us, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, The Hand That First Held Mine, which won the 2010 Costa Novel Award, Instructions for a Heatwave and This Must Be the Place. She is also the author of a book for children, Where Snow Angels Go. She lives in Edinburgh.

Mary Paulson-Ellis writes across the boundaries of crime, historical and literary fiction. Her debut, The Other Mrs Walker was a Times bestseller and Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year and she has been longlisted for both the McIlvanney Prize for best Scottish crime novel and a Historical Writers Association Gold Crown. Mary's work has featured in the Guardian and on BBC Radio 4. Emily Noble’s Disgrace is her third novel.

Please note: Tickets for our events are non-refundable. Professional photography and videography may take place during this event. Thank you for your understanding.

The venue

The Portobello Bookshop

46 Portobello High Street
EH15 1DA

Telephone: 0131 629 6756


Wheelchair Access

We have a ramp at the front of the shop which has a ratio of 1:10 and loading capacity of 300kg, and so should be able to be used by most wheelchair users or those with mobility vehicles. The front doors are fully automated. Our shop interior is designed to allow access throughout for wheelchair users and prams, though please note there is only 700mm wide clearance to access the staff toilet.


We use a PA system to enhance the audio at our live events. We also have a hearing loop system installed, if you’d like to use our loop system during an event please let us know and we’ll make sure we have it setup and connected to the live audio feed during the event. If you wish to attend an event and require BSL interpretation, please give us a few weeks notice and we’ll do our best to arrange an interpreter.