Beginner's Pluck

MADELINE MILLER was brought up to love books.

Her mother was a librarian and Kindergarten teacher. “I studied Latin and Greek in High School. It was after I graduated that I started to think seriously about writing.

“In college I directed Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. It was amazing talking to Achilles about how he should walk. That sparked something. I thought, if I can direct these characters, maybe I could write about them too. I sat down in a trance and started writing. The book took 10 years, but Achilles character remained the same.”

Who is Madeline Miller?

Date/place of birth: July 24, 1978; Boston, Massachusetts.

Education: Brown College. BA and MA Latin and Ancient Greek.

Home: Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Family: Fiancé, Nathanial.

The Day Job: “I was teaching Latin in High School full time. Now I’m tutoring pupils on the side; in Latin, Greek and some English.”

Hobbies: “I love to walk. And I love the theatre. Particularly directing.”

Favourite Writers: “I really love Virgil’s Aenead. I get so much inspiration from it.”

Second Novel: “I would love to return to the Homeric world. There are still so many stories I want to tell.”

Top Writing Tip: “If I’m stuck with something, I go for a walk. I carry a notebook and scribble things down.”

Web: Twitter: @millermadeline

The Debut

The Song of Achilles. Bloomsbury: €13.99. Kindle: €8.59. It’s Greece in the age of heroes. Cowardly Prince Patroclus, exiled by his father, is taken up by Achilles. But will their bond survive the rigours of devastation and war?

“I tried to write in a way that people who are not familiar with the Iliad can still enjoy my book.; without spoiling the pleasure for people who know the background.

“My greatest hope is that people will read this and say, ‘now I want to read the Iliad.’”

The Verdict: Written as a moving love story, this novel breathes life into the Trojan War.

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