Dr Elena Giusti, Assistant Professor in Latin Literature and Language, discusses the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction, won by Kamila Shamsie for her novel Home Fire, a reworking of Sophocles' Greek tragedy.
“It is fantastic news for Classics that Kamila Shamsie has been awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction for Home Fire. Shamsie’s book is further attestation of the continuous appeal of the Greek myth of Antigone for exploring the complexities of ethics and the doubtful morality of state laws, especially relevant in view of the alarmingly strict anti-immigration policies that are taking place all across the Western world. But it is also testament to the importance of returning ancient Greek Classics to a pangender and truly global audience. Her Aneeka follows the footsteps not just of the Antigones of Sophocles, Anouilh, Brecht and Heaney, but is inscribed within a long tradition of a feminist recovery of the myth as retold by Irigaray, Cixous, Butler and Carson among others, and it joins works such as the 1974 anti-apartheid drama The Island (Fugard, Kani, Ntshona) or the 2014 drama workshop Antigone of Syria (Auger, Azzam, Scardino) in reminding the world about the translatability of the ancient Greek Classics, while showing the ever more urgent need for Western Classics to engage with the world”.
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