The Silence of the Girls
Dramatised reading of The Silence of the Girls, performed by Seána Kerslake, and produced by Bazar Productions.
Irish writers, Caelainn Hogan and Jessica Traynor discuss The Silence of the Girls and speak to the book’s author Pat Barker.
Comments from the Judging Panel
Centring on Briseis, captured by the Greek army from a town near Troy and given to Achilles as one of the spoils of war, The Silence of the Girls offers a stunning feminist rewriting of one of literature’s archetypal stories. As well as being an incisive and humane reading of The Iliad, the novel probes vital questions about who tells our stories and whose voices are neglected. Freshness of tone and a flair for storytelling engage and grip the reader, while the devastating contemporary resonances of women, war and survival linger in the mind beyond the final, powerful page.
About the Novel
When the Greek Queen Helen is kidnapped by Trojans, the Greeks sail in pursuit, besieging the city of Troy. Trapped in the Greek soldiers’ camp is another captured queen, Briseis. Condemned to be bed-slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her family, she becomes a pawn in a menacing game between bored and frustrated warriors. In the centuries after this most famous war, history will write her off, a footnote in a bloody story scripted by vengeful men – but Briseis has a very different tale to tell . . .
About the Author
Pat Barker was born in Yorkshire and has published fifteen novels, including her masterful Regeneration Trilogy which has been made a CBE for services to literature. She has won awards including the Guardian Fiction Prize and the UK’s highest literary honour, the Booker Prize. She lives in Durham.
Once again Pat Barker proves to be a master of telling stories about war and women’s stories. Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand
An incredibly powerful reworking of the story of Troy told from the perspective of the women in the tale. It gives voice to the characters who are usually reduced to a footnote or cypher in Greek myth and denied their own voice or story. The novel is told from the perspective of Briseis, who is given as a prize to Achilles during the Trojan Wars. The writing is atmospheric and descriptive, and vividly depicts the fate of those caught in conflict and the way in which their stories can be silenced by the victors. Nottingham City Libraries, England