James Shapiro has been teaching English literature at Columbia University for over 25 years, during which time he has written numerous books about Shakespeare and early modern English literature. In 2006, Shapiro won the Samuel Johnson Prize for his book 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare. His most recent book, 1606: The Year of Lear, won the James Tait Black Prize.
Books by James Shapiro
1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare
by James Shapiro
🏆 Winner of the 2006 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
🏆 Winner of the 2023 Winner of Winners Prize, which aims to pick out the best nonfiction book of the past 25 years
1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare is a brilliant book that brings to life the world Shakespeare lived in, and events taking place around him, in 1599. That was the year Shakespeare finished writing Henry V, wrote Julius Caesar and As You Like It, and made his first draft of Hamlet. 1599 is by James Shapiro, a professor of English at Columbia (You can also read our interview with him about Shakespeare's life, as he is one of many experts to recommend the best Shakespeare books for us).
Interviews with James Shapiro
The best books on Shakespeare’s Life, recommended by James Shapiro
Though many scholars have done meticulous work and brought to life slices of his life, writing a traditional, cradle-to-grave biography of Shakespeare is impossible, says Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro. Here he selects some of his favourite books tackling aspects of Shakespeare’s life, including the one he most wishes he had written himself.