30 May 2012

Madeline Miller wins 2012 Orange Prize

The Orange Prize 2012 is awarded to Madeline Miller for her first novel, Song of Achilles. Watch an exclusive video of the author reading from her book.

Song of Achilles retells the ancient story of Achilles from Greece in the age of Heroes and was ten years in the writing. But Miller’s efforts have now been awarded with the17th Orange Prize for women’s fiction.

The novel is told from the perspective of Patroclus, an awkward young prince who has been exiled to Phthia and goes to live with King Peleus and his strong, beautiful son, Achilles.

“I had always loved the story of Achilles ever since I was a little girl,” the author told Channel 4 News. “My mother used to read Greek myths to me as bedtime stories. The story of Achilles just grabbed me.”

Can creative writing courses lead to Orange Prize success? Read more from Culture Editor Matthew Cain

Miller’s novel was the bookmakers’ least favourite to win, with odds at 8/1, but she impressed the judges nonetheless. They called her book “terrific”, adding: “The Trojan Wars and the legendary love story of Patroclus and Achilles told with all the intensity and accuracy that this world of violence and superstition and romance deserves.”

Miller was born in Boston, MA, and grew up in both New York City and Philadelphia. She has an MA in Classics from Brown University and also studied at the Yale School of Drama specialising in adapting classical tales to a modern audience

She currently teaches Latin and writes from her home in New England.

Read more: the Channel 4 News verdict on the Orange Prize shortlist