From Ovid’s serpentine Medusa to the Tataka of the Ramayana, and the six-headed, twelve-legged Scylla of Homer’s Odyssey, an uncomfortably high number of mythology’s villains are written as women. But why, and was this always the case? 

Acclaimed authors Jennifer Saint (Elektra), Susan Stokes-Chapman (Pandora), Claire Heywood (Daughters of Sparta), and Nikita Gill (Great Goddesses; The Girl and The Goddess) join forces to explore the patriarchal origins of these epic myths and discuss how new generations of female fantasy authors are reimagining ancient myths and legends by introducing inspiring new heroines, across cultures, to subvert the legacy of mythological misogyny. Our panellists will also talk about the enduring inspiration provided by these ancient tales.

About The Authors

Headshot of Jennifer Saint

Jennifer Saint

Due to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology, Jennifer Saint read Classical
Studies at King’s College, London. She spent the next thirteen years as an English teacher,
sharing a love of literature and creative writing with her students. Jennifer’s debut novel,
ARIADNE was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller. ELEKTRA is her second.

Nikita Gill

Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and poet living in the south of England. Her works include Fierce Fairytales: & Other Stories to Stir Your Soul (2019), Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters (2019), The Girl and The Goddess (2020). Her most recent book Where Hope Comes From: Poems of Resilience, Healing and Light was published in 2021. With over 500,000 followers, Nikita is one of the most popular poets on Instagram.

Headshot of author Claire Heywood stood in front of some cream coloured curtains

Claire Heywood

 Claire Heywood is a scholar of the ancient world, having gained a 1st ClassBA in Classical Civilisation and an MA with Distinction in Ancient Visual andMaterial Culture, both from the University of Warwick. Her deep understanding of the ancient world, coupled with her fascination with women’s forgotten voices, inspired her to retell the legend of the Trojan War from the perspective of two key female characters. She is a former professional tour guide at the Roman Baths museum in Bath and now writes full-time.

Daughters of Sparta is her first novel. She is currently doing research for her second novel, which will also be set in the ancient world and feature different female perspectives.

Headshot of Susan Stokes

Susan Stokes-Chapman

Susan Stokes-Chapman was born in 1985 and grew up in the historic
Georgian city of Lichfield, Staffordshire. She studied for four years at
Aberystwyth University, graduating with a BA in Education & English
Literature and an MA in Creative Writing. Her debut novel, Pandora, was
shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction prize 2020 as well as longlisted for the Bath Novel Award that same year.