“Greek It Up!” – Natalie Haynes’ witty take on the Greek tragedy

In the beautiful church of St. Endellion, the lively and charismatic “classical-scholar-turned-stand up-comedian-turned-writer” Natalie Haynes presented the pupils of local schools with a detailed and humorous retelling of Sophocles’ Athenian tragedy “Oedipus the King”. Natalie engrossed both pupils and teachers alike by drawing correlations between Ancient Greek tragedy and British soap operas, coining the phrase “Oedipus-Enders” to much amusement, and discussing their similarities in structure – the repeated concept of “unity of place, unity of time” captivated her listeners and prompted eager questions from the pupils. Her background in comedy is evident and although she packed her fast-paced, animated talk with interesting historical facts, she still managed to inject her own personality into the stories she told. As a speaker, she encourages plenty of audience participation, and her performance came to an explosive, funny conclusion when she revealed the fate of Oedipus, providing an apt end to an hour packed with laughs.

Natalie Haynes previously read Classics at Christ’s College, Cambridge. In 2012, she published “An Ancient Guide to Modern Life”, a unique and charming guide to navigating the turbulence of modern culture and society, drawing parallels between Ancient Greece and the likes of HBO series ‘The Wire’. Her most recent work, “The Children of Jocasta”, re-imagines the Antigone and Oedipus Rex stories from the perspectives of the women the classic narratives overlook, and is available now from Pan Macmillan.

Check out her website here http://www.nataliehaynes.com/ for more information.

Packed with workshops, talks and performances, the North Cornwall Book Festival is based in St. Endellion, Cornwall, and is currently in full swing, running from the 4th to the 7th of October.

by Maxwell Colbourne and Louis James