We were extremely pleased when Bloomsbury approached us and said that Madeline Miller was going to be in the UK for a few days and wanted to do some events while she was here. Quite a few of us in the shop have read her Orange Prize-winning debut novel, Song of Achilles, so there was a real buzz amongst the staff.
We attracted a really engaged, passionate audience to the event on Tuesday 4th, which was perfect, because the part of events Madeline especially enjoys is the Q & A part. It was clear from the questions that people had read and really enjoyed the novel. There were a couple of people who had read the book as part of their book groups and it seems to have prompted some excellent debates.
It was really great to be able to listen to a new author talk about her process of writing. She is a teacher and gets so involved with her students during the working week/ term, that she only writes on weekends and in holidays. She is clearly really passionate about Classics and it is brilliant that she has made The Iliad accessible to a new audience. She was inspired to write the story from a minor character’s point of view after reading of Achilles’s reaction to Patroclus’s death in Homer – why was Achilles so distraught to lose a friend? The result is a moving, funny, easy to read novel about love as well as war.