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  • Writer's pictureBelle Kenyon

Medusa retold: A classic myth, identity, and gender entwined like a head of snakes

Sarah Wallis releases emblazed, bold collection ‘Medusa Retold’

Scottish-based poet and playwright Sarah Wallis is releasing a new chapbook of poetry, ‘Medusa Retold’. Previously, Sarah has been published in many titles prior to this release, including poems in Selcouth Station and The Interpreter’s House. Sarah boasts word theatricality and linguistic magnetism in abundance, having been awarded an MA in Creative Writing from UEA and an MPhil in Playwriting from Birmingham University. ‘Medusa Retold’ is a stunning chapbook that fiercely reignites and reinvents the Medusa myth, weaving a long narrative of liminality, loneliness and, something we can all relate to, the desire to be accepted and understood.

There are several writers that played influence to ‘Medusa Retold’, many of which fans of modern mythological takes may recognise. In her own words, Sarah says of what inspired her,

“I have a long held interest in retellings of well-known stories, whether from myth or fairy tale, and Angela Carter’s work was an early influence on my own. The sea is also a big influence in much of my work (poetry, flash fiction and playwriting) is also inspired by the sea.”

Of how her chapbook refreshes the classic Medusa myth, Sarah continues,

“My story is a version that includes a focus on her early life, a headstrong loner, living by the sea and trying to find her place in the world. She has trouble making and holding onto friendships because she is a little odd, introverted and self-involved, particularly drawn to creatures of the sea.”

‘Medusa Retold’ has already gleaned fantastic praise from many in the literary world, including poet James Nash who recalls Sarah to be “a very fine poet and storyteller. She deftly re-inhabits the Medusa myth, losing none of the magic and mystery and yet giving it a contemporary and affecting resonance. She salutes the ancient gods, particularly Athena but also deals with 21st century questions of identity and gender. A miniature epic full of wonderful writing.”

‘Medusa Retold’ is released today and can be ordered here.

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