The SHS Classics department was thrilled to welcome Natalie Haynes, acclaimed author, speaker, maker of podcasts, and overall advocate for the Classics back to SHS discuss her book, Stone Blind, a dramatic and empathetic retelling of the Medusa myth.
Attendees were made up of not only our students from years 9 to 13 from academic backgrounds including Classics, Drama, and English, but also parents, SHS staff past and present, SHS alumnae, visiting schools, and other members of the public. SHS alumna, Annie Davies, provided a specially commissioned Medusa cake for the event – which wasn’t the only cake on display during the day as our brilliant junior and senior pupils brought along the most spectacular “Myths and Monsters” cakes for a bake sale at break time!
It goes without saying that Natalie’s talk was excellent. She challenged all our perceptions of the ‘monster myth’ and encouraged us to examine what we view as ‘monstrous’ and/or ‘heroic’. She recalled, not just Classical myths and sources, but defining works of art from across the millennia, from Cellinis’ bronze Perseus statue, to Harryhausen’s epic, ‘Clash of the Titans’.
After the talk, there was a lively Q&A session with perceptive questions from the audience, several of which were put forward by SHS girls, then on to tea, cake, and book signings. Several of our students had already bought the book and were keen to meet the author herself. Year 13 Latin student Anna had even picked up the German version on its release when she was in Berlin with the SHS German trip in the autumn – she had the German and English versions ready for signing!
Following her lecture the girls have continued to discuss the event and the thought provoking subject matter, particularly attitudes to women across the millennia and the female perception and depiction in art, literature and the media.
Thank you Natalie for an inspiring afternoon. For those with an interests in Classics, keep an eye on our social media pages for more exciting speaker news over the coming months…