Elizabeth Speller

is a poet and author. She has published a biography of Emperor Hadrian, companion guides to Rome and to Athens (recommended by the Olympics 2004 site) and a family history, Sunlight on the Garden (Granta). Of this book a TLS reviewer said: ‘There are echoes … of Sylvia Plath’s ability to combine beauty with irony, and suffering with comedy.’ Her second novel is to be published by Virago in 2011 and she is currently working on a fictionalised account of the first day of the battle of the Somme to be published in 2014. She has contributed to publications as varied as the Independent, Financial Times, Sunday Times, New Statesman,TLS, and Vogue and produced the libretto for a requiem for Linda McCartney – Farewell – composed by Michael Berkeley (OUP and EMI). She was short listed for the Forward Prize last year and her poetry is in several anthologies, most recently in Tellus, 2011.

Elizabeth read Archaeology and Anthropology and then Classics at Cambridge as a mature student and stayed there to do an MPhil. She won a BP studentship and a Henry Arthur Thomas award. Her post-graduate research and current interests are in the use of classical themes in C20/21 literature, especially in war poetry and the discourse of conflict. She has held a visiting scholarship at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge and has taught at the universities of Cambridge, Bristol and Birmingham. At present she holds a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship at the University of Warwick.