Visiting author gives presentation, discusses works


Tara Boyd

Award-winning author Madeline Miller gives are presentation to the school about her book “Circe” in the Syufy Theatre. A senior English class and the book club read “Circe” in anticipation of the visit.

Madeline Thiara, Components Editor

WEB EXCLUSIVE Students gathered in Syufy Theatre this morning to listen to award-winning author Madeline Miller discuss her books and answer questions from faculty and the student body. In preparation for the assembly, the Convent Book Club and a senior English class read one of her books “Circe.”

“Faculty met Madeline Miller at the Key West Literary Seminar last year and were really moved by her presentation,” librarian Reba Sell said. “They wanted to bring her to our community so students were able to hear about her books and be able to ask questions.”

Her books, “The Song of Achilles” and “Circe” are spin-offs of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and they each focus on a character that was underrepresented in each poem, according to Miller during her presentation. 

“Meeting Madeline Miller helped me better understand the reasoning behind some of the artistic decisions she made,” freshman Emma Chongo, a member of the book club, said. “At first I didn’t understand why Circe didn’t bow down to Odysseus in Miller’s version, but after she explained it, it made sense.”

In both of her books, Miller wanted to tell the stories that were taken from the Iliad and the Odyssey and to give them a new perspective. During the presentation, Miller focuses on how Circe’s representation in the Odyssey is somewhat sexist and portrays Circe, the daughter of Helios, as simply gentle, where her book portrays Circe to be independent and powerful.

“I really enjoyed being able to ask her questions and see her in person because it brought the book to life,” Chongo said. 

In addition to the assembly, Miller had smaller discussions with Latin students in the Williams Library and talked about her writing process and her favorite Latin works. She discussed how it is beneficial to start the process early and to take consistent breaks to clear one’s mind, according to Sell. 

“These author visits are important because it is nice for students to hear similar messages that they are getting from their teachers, from someone who is an expert in that field,” Sell said.