Natalie Haynes, the Women’s Prize-shortlisted author of A Thousand Ships and Pandora’s Jar, joins us to discuss her new novel Stone Blind, which brings the infamous Medusa to life as you have never seen her before . . .
“So to mortal men, we are monsters.
Because of our flight, our strength.
They fear us, so they call us monsters.”
Medusa is the only mortal in a family of gods. Growing up with her sisters, she quickly realizes that she is the only one who gets older, experiences change, feels weakness. Her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.
When desire pushes a God to commit the unforgivable, Medusa’s mortal life is changed forever. Her punishment is to be turned into a Gorgon: sharp teeth, snakes for hair, and a gaze that will turn any living creature to stone. Appalled by her own reflection, Medusa can no longer look upon anything she loves without destroying it. She condemns herself to a life of solitude in the shadows to limit her murderous gaze.
That is, until Perseus embarks upon a fateful quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .
This is the story of how a young woman became a monster. And how she was never really a monster at all.
Natalie Haynes is the author of The Amber Fury, which was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize; The Children of Jocasta, a feminist retelling of the Oedipus and Antigone stories; and two non-fiction books, The Ancient Guide to Modern Life and Pandora’s Jar.
She has written and presented seven series of the BBC Radio 4 show, Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics. In 2015, she was awarded the Classical Association Prize for her work in bringing Classics to a wider audience. Her third novel, A Thousand Ships, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2020.