Charlotte Higgins

One of Elif Shafak’s selected writers for the International Literature Showcase

“Charlotte Higgins is an author with magic in her pen. From ancient subjects she conjures living text: vast conversations about who we are today and why the stories we tell really matter.” – Elif Shafak

<< Explore Elif’s list of great UK women writers


Author, journalist, classicist; I love tragedy, poetry and ancient tales

Charlotte Higgins was born in the Potteries, North Staffordshire, and lives in London, where she works as chief culture writer of the Guardian. A classicist, she investigates aspects of the ancient world in her books. Under Another Sky, about the encounter with Roman Britain, was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction, among other prizes. Red Thread, an exploration of the idea of the labyrinth, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and won the Arnold Bennett prize. September 2021 sees the publication of Greek Myths, a vivid new retelling that brings female characters to centre stage: Athena, Helen, Circe, Penelope and others weave the ancient stories into elaborate imagined tapestries, forming a sweeping epic of storytelling. She is a past winner of the Classical Association prize, awarded to the writer deemed to have done most to bring the classics to a wide audience.


“[Charlotte Higgins] is no ordinary author. Her thrillingly original book – it really is like no other – is itself a sort of maze of facts and thoughts, ancient tales and modern phenomena… on every page there is a sparkling idea or a fascinating piece of information. It is also beautifully written… a beautifully produced volume, full of colour illustrations of sculptures and paintings and tantalising maps of mazes.”  – Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday, on Red Thread

“The joy of travelling with Higgins… [is that Red Thread] delights in the blinking movement from one subject to the next. In a few pages, we travel from Middlemarch to Ovid, from Arachne to Velázquez and his painting The Spinners and then back to George Eliot. It sounds dizzying; in truth it is illuminating.” – Christian Donlan, New Statesman

“Charlotte Higgins’ Red Thread is subtitled “On Mazes And Labyrinths” but is much more than that. It takes a nimble thinker to link the ancient stories of the Minotaur to archeological fabrication in the Edwardian era and to Arnold Bennett and the Potteries… [one] of the most interesting books this year.” – Stuart Kelly, Scotsman

“Beautifully crafted… The beauty of [Under Another Sky] is not just in the elegant prose and the precision with which she skewers her myths. It is in the sympathy that she shows for the myth-makers, the men and woman who so very much wanted their very own Roman Britain.” – Peter Stothard, The Times

“Under Another Sky should be on every shelf in the UK. Part travelogue, part handbook and part revisionist history, it is a personal and vivid encounter with landscapes, artefacts and people… Beautifully considered and written.” – Ruth Padel, New Statesman

“Honoured, and excited about making new connections beyond British shores.” – Charlotte

Image credit David Levene

Bibliography

  • Latin Love Lessons: Put a Little Ovid in Your Life (Short Books, 2007)
  • It’s All Greek to Me: From Achilles’ Heel to Pythagoras’ Theorem (Short Books, 2009)
  • Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain (Jonathan Cape, 2013)
  • This New Noise: The Extraordinary Birth and Troubled Life of the BBC (Guardian-Faber, 2015)
  • Red Thread: On Mazes and Labyrinths (Jonathan Cape, 2018)
  • Greek Myths: A New Retelling (Jonathan Cape, 2021)

Contact Charlotte

Personal

Twitter: @chiggi; Instagram @charlotteelizabethhiggins

Agent

Peter Straus at RCW Peters@rcwlitagency.com

Publisher

Anna Redman, Jonathan Cape.