Fiona Forsyth studied Classics at Somerville College, Oxford and went on to teach the subject for 25 years at Manchester Grammar School. In 2020 she won the Qatar Poetry Centre’s prize for poetry written in English.

She is the author of the Lucius Sestius Trilogy, and her novel The Third Daughter.

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When I was ten, I formed my plan – I would study Classics. I arrived at this point by the usual path – becoming fascination with Greek myths, learning that the Romans had conquered Britain and reading all the historical fiction in the school library. I had also learned that people were not necessarily thrilled when I told them of my ambition to study such a “useless” subject. My Headmistress called me “a condemned Classicist” and she was right.

I had a wonderful time at Somerville College, Oxford, and once I had my degree, I spent a year working in Nuffield College Library while I made the choice between librarian and teacher. The decision to give teaching a go was a good one and I spent twenty-five years at The Manchester Grammar School, teaching what I loved every day, and running the school Bookshop in my spare time. It was a proper bookshop too.

When my husband was offered a job in Qatar, we were ready as a family for the adventure and I am so glad we did it. There were, however, no jobs for Classics teachers, so I was the “trailing spouse” and found myself with the time to rescue many cats, become a prison visitor – and write. I lived in a country where writing poetry was considered a proper job, and in 2020 won the Qatar Poetry Centre’s prize for poetry written in English. I also wrote novels about my favourite subject, ancient Rome.

So far I have written four novels, set in ancient Rome and published by Sharpe Books. I am now back in the UK and my work-in-progress is centred on the Roman poet Ovid. Despite all their faults, my heart is still with the Romans.

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The Denarius

The Denarius

One of my most precious possessions is a small Roman coin. It is a tiny sliver of silver, a denarius minted in 43 BCE in Asia Minor for the army of Brutus: yes, that Brutus, assassin of Julius Caesar, the addressee in “et tu, Brute?”.Along with his fellow assassin Cassius, Brutus had fled ...

Author Interview

Fiona Forsyth
Fiona Forsyth, what prompted you to choose the period that you wrote your first book in?When I was teaching, I would “bag” the Cicero speech set for A level Latin. I’ve always found his oratory powerful, and the fact that he was a politician as well as a lawyer means that nearly all his speeches have a political/historical background which gave an added ...
Fiona Forsyth on Poetic Justice
Fiona Forsyth, you have moved on from the Lucius Sestius mysteries to a new series. How does it feel to say goodbye to characters like Lucius?When the story demands a certain resolution then it is easy to say goodbye. I’m not going to say I cried when killing off Lucius, though I came close. I was very fond of Lucius, though he ...