Phi Beta Kappa Internship Opportunity – Madeline Miller Interview

Along with serving as an Editorial Intern for John Wiley & Sons Life Sciences department this summer, I have just recently started a writing internship with Phi Beta Kappa Society writing for their online publication, The Key Reporter. For my first article, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Madeline Miller , Phi Beta Kappa member and first time author of the Orange Prize winning novel The Song of Achilles. I was honored and delighted to speak to Ms. Miller, a very deserving recipient of the prestigious honor for fiction.

I had never conducted an interview before, and Ms. Miller made my first time very enjoyable. In order to prepare myself for the interview, I wanted to ensure that I was knowledge about Ms. Miller, her novel and the subject matter in an appropriate way. Researching is something that we are very familiar with as students. But I found it interesting how I incorporated research when preparing for this interview and article in a different way. I wanted to be well spoken and respectable when corresponding with Ms. Miller. I wanted to build my ethos, and show her that I cared enough about representing her and her book in an effective manner. Based on my research, I formulated plenty of questions to ask her, including what her academic interests are, how she went about her research, what made her chose to focus on the characters she did, what receiving the Orange Prize meant to her and how Phi Beta Kappa influenced her education. My preparation through research enhanced my ethos, as it helped me feel confident when speaking to Ms. Miller, and I sincerely hope that my research helped Ms. Miller view me as professional and enthusiastic.

I found that our hour conversation ran smoothly and naturally. While having questions to refer back to and to keep the interview on track was very helpful, I did find that just chatting with Ms. Miller and asking her follow up questions was key in generating content to write about. I found that when writing the article, the questions that I asked on a whim were the most beneficial to my cause. This interview taught me so much about researching on a level that I was otherwise unfamiliar with. I am thankful for this opportunity to not only speak to Ms. Miller, but also expand my interview and writing knowledge. Overall, Ms. Miller was a pleasure to speak to, and her passion for the Classics, and the stories of ancient Greece, was palpable.

Madeline Miller’s debut novel, The Song of Achilles, retells The Iliad in a way unlike any of the other recreations of the ancient text. The  The Song of Achilles spins the timeless tale of Trojan War in a beautiful way, by shedding a very personal light on the relationship between the almighty Achilles,  and his companion Patroclus. Ms. Miller’s tribute to her characters is incredible, I highly recommend her novel.

Overall, I am so excited to have had the opportunity to not only communicate with an author, but furthermore, turn my wonderful conversation with her into an article that highlights her impressive knowledge and skill. I will be writing an article each month for Phi Beta Kappa until December, and I can’t wait to see what other interesting opportunities this position will provide me!

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