New York Times bestselling author Madeline Miller, writer of Circe and The Song of Achilles, visited campus on Friday, February 22.
Madeline, who spent years as a classics teacher herself, visited Latin, Greek, and English classrooms in the Upper School. Using traditional depictions of Circe from Homer’s epic narrative The Odyssey, as well as references to Geraldine Brooks’ March and Valerie Martin’s Mary Reilly, she encouraged students to reframe narratives from other perspectives as they seek to understand texts.
In assembly, Madeline spoke to the entire Upper School about her winding and often challenging path to becoming a writer and finding her passions later in life. She shared about the process of writing The Song of Achilles, including tearing up the entire first manuscript five years in because she felt she did not capture the voice of Patroclus properly. Driven by her passion for literature, Latin, Homeric Greek, and mythology, Madeline continued her writing journey, but struggled with misgivings regarding the value of her narrative voice, concerned that she was being self-indulgent and should not “take up space” with her voice and story. She reflected on the importance of working through these uncertainties and reminded students that their voices matter, calling for them to contribute to conversations in whatever way they can.