American author Madeline Miller, right, poses for pictures wiyh Joanna Trollope, left, the chair of the judges of the 2012 Orange for Fiction award in London’s Royal Festival Hall, Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Miller won the prestigious book award with her book ‘The Song of Achilles’ . (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
LONDON (AP) — American Madeline Miller, a classics teacher turned [auth] novelist, took home the prestigious Orange Prize for fiction on Wednesday for her debut book, “The Song of Achilles.”
The book retells the story of Patroclus and the legendary warrior Achilles from their first meeting as children to their deaths at the siege of Troy.
Joanna Trollope, who chaired the judging panel, described Miller’s retelling of the ancient Greek myth as “inventive, passionate, uplifting and different” at the awards ceremony in London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Miller — who spent 10 years writing the book while working as a Greek and Latin teacher — said she was “overwhelmed” and “humble” by the 30,000 pound ($46,000) prize.
Two other Americans had joined Miller on the six-book shortlist for the prize — Cynthia Ozick for “Foreign Bodies” and Ann Patchett for “State of Wonder.”
Also on the shortlist were “The Forgotten Waltz” by Ireland’s Anne Enright, “Painter of Silence” by British writer Georgina Harding and “Half Blood Blues,” a Booker Prize finalist by Canada’s Esi Edugyan.
The prize is open to any novel by a woman published in English.