Madeline Miller is an American author and essayist who is most known for the New York Times Bestselling novels The Song of Achilles (2011) and Circe (2018). Her debut novel was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction. Miller's second novel has won several literary awards and is currently the subject of an eight-episode series for HBO Max. Both novels have been translated into over twenty-five languages.
Madeline Miller grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. Miller has taught and tutored Latin, Greek, and Shakespeare to high school students for over fifteen years. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms.
Madeline Miller spent ten years writing The Song of Achilles while she worked as a teacher. This is an adaptation of Homer's Iliad, told from the point of view of Patroclus. The novel recounts the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles with special attention to their romantic affinity.
The author and critic Daniel Mendelsohn wrote in the New York Times that the book "has the head of a young adult novel, the body of the Iliad, and the hindquarters of Barbara Cartland."
Anyway, the book made the novelist trendy. She was shortlisted for the 2012 Stonewall Writer of the Year.
The second novel, Circe, was written more quickly and was even more successful. The book is a modern reimagining told from the perspective of Circe, an enchantress in Greek mythology who is featured in Homer's Odyssey.
"It was absolutely a feminist project from the start—in the sense that I wanted a woman to speak her own story, and to give her the same scope that male heroes have by right. Women have traditionally been shut out of epic, but women’s lives are epic too", says Madeline Miller.
Circe was an instant number 1 New York Times bestseller, and won the Indies Choice Best Adult Fiction of the Year Award and the Indies Choice Best Audiobook of the Year Award, as well as being shortlisted for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction. Circe also won The Red Tentacle Award, an American Library Association Alex Award, and the 2018 Elle Big Book Award.
Besides Miller's essays have appeared in a number of publications including the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Telegraph, Lapham's Quarterly, and NPR.org.
The writer says she has two books in progress, one inspired by the Aeneid, and the other by The Tempest—directing Shakespeare.
According to the official site, Madeline Mille currently lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo credit: madelinemiller.com