Alex Penland

Thesis title: Antikythera / "Protagonist Lenses in the Songs of Achilles and Illium"


Alex Penland is a former museum kid. They spent their childhood running rampant through the Smithsonian museums, which kicked off an early career as a child adventurer. Alex has worked in the field with NASA scientists, linguists, and acclaimed photographers.

Now a Pushcart-nominated author, Alex currently lives in Scotland while studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Prior adventures include founding a writing organization in Iowa, a volunteering at the National Zoo in DC, and various enterprises in the field of education. Their work has been internationally published in The Midwest Review, Orion’s Belt, and the Strange Lands anthology by Flame Tree Press.

They hold memberships at SFWA (associate), HNS, SOA, and BSFA.


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Responsibilities & affiliations

Community Liaison, Hillfire Press

Research summary

Creative Writing (Narrative, Historical Narrative)

Linguistics (Historical Linguistics, Constructing Language)

Classical Studies (Historical Narrative, Homeric Studies, Oral Tradition)

Current research interests

Alex's current research involves comparing Madeline Miller's "Song of Achilles" to its source material, with particular focus on the character of Achilles and how he is portrayed through hundreds of years of re-interpretation.

Project activity

Ongoing publication of short stories, poetry, and occasional libretti.

Invited speaker


"Actus Queerus: Classical Queerness and the Discipline", Kings College London, Panelist.

"The Appeal of Alternate History and Historical Fantasy", SFWA "Nebula" Conference, Moderator.

"Horror Stories with Anna CHeung, Dhiannon Grist, and A.M. Shine", Cymera Conference, Opening Reader.



Historical Novel Society North American Conference


Papers delivered


"Three Thousand Years of Re-Interpretation: Character Continuity and Ancient Texts", Great Writing Conference, Panelist.


We Are Only Ourselves (Interzone - Forthcoming)

How to Read the Lace (Open Book - Forthcoming)

To Take Communion (The Dark Side of Purity - Forthcoming)

Twenty-Twenties Triptych (Olney Magazine - Forthcoming)

Evolution of the Kallerian Language Family (Segments, vol. 4)

parisian attic cancer dragon (The Bear Creek Gazette, vol. 7)

Three Iterations of Odysseus (Mahogany Opera Group-Performed)



You Do Not Need to Open the Door (Orion's Belt, vol. 1)

hic incipit pestis (Cambridge "Quaranzine")

Pushcart Award Nominee (2021)