Ancient Greece Inspires Award-Winning Author

Award-winning writer Colm Toibin draws on Greek myth

An award-winning Irish novelist has said his new book — set in the violent world of ancient Greece — was written with the Syrian war in mind.

Colm Toibin, whose novel Brooklyn was adapted into an Oscar-nominated Hollywood movie in 2015, told the U.K.’s Independent that House of Names was written in the “white heat of ISIS”.

House of Names revisits the Greek tragedy of Queen Clytemnestra and King Agamemnon of the house of Atreus.

The classic Greek tale of murder, revenge and human sacrifice includes the tale of Agamemnon’s daughter, Iphigenia.

After Agamemnon offends the goddess Artemis, he is commanded to kill Iphigenia as a sacrifice so he can sail the Aegean to besiege Troy.

This tale of violence inspired Toibin to write the new novel, which is also a reflection on 20th-century conflicts in Europe and the Middle East.

Toibin, winner of the 2009 Costa Novel Award and four-time Booker-prize nominee, also has plans to produce a play, a new version of Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone to be called Pale Sister.