In September we highlighted the publication of A Midlands Odyssey, a new collection of stories inspired by Homer and set in the Midlands, which was co-edited by CAHA doctoral research student Polly Stoker.

Cover art for A Midlands Odyssey, edited by doctoral student in Classics, Polly Stoker

Three of the stories in the collection have been adapted for BBC Radio 4's Shorts: Writing West sequence, including one by Birmingham lecturer and Booker-longlisted novelist Richard House. The stories are being broadcast on consecutive Sundays and are available for four weeks after broadcast on the BBC iPlayer service.

  • Kit de Waal -  'Adrift at the Athena' (available now)
  • Natalie Haynes - 'The Two Penelopes' (available Sunday 7 December 2014)
  • Richard House - 'Underworld' (available Sunday 14 December 2014)

Polly’s doctoral research project is a study of creative reworkings of ancient Greek and Roman literature by contemporary women writers and of the ways in which such receptions intersect with feminist theory. A Midlands Odyssey is one way in which she is looking to make her work on modern versions of Classical literature accessible to a wider public. Polly said,

"The collection consists of ten responses to Homer's Odyssey and provides a fascinating snapshot of epic in the twenty-first century, as each writer tries to make sense of Odysseus and his homecoming in a contemporary Midlands' setting. The opportunity to work alongside practitioners of creative writing adds a new dimension to my research, comparing academic theory with artistic practice."

The book is the product of Polly’s collaboration with ‘Writing West Midlands’, for a "Communicating Ancient Greece and Rome" Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded initiative, led by the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama at the University of Oxford.

Learn more:

  • A Midlands Odyssey on the Nine Arches Press website