Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen
Mary Norris in conversation with Gregory Maguire
In her New York Times best-selling Between You & Me, Mary Norris delighted readers with her irreverent tales of pencils, punctuation, and punctiliousness over three decades in The New Yorker’s celebrated copy department. In Greek to Me, she delivers another wise and witty paean to the art of expressing oneself clearly and convincingly, this time filtered through her greatest passion: all things Greek.
From convincing her New Yorker bosses to pay for Ancient Greek studies to traveling the sacred way in search of Persephone, Greek to Me is an unforgettable account of both her lifelong love affair with words and her solo adventures in the land of olive trees and ouzo. Along the way, Norris explains how the alphabet originated in Greece, makes the case for Athena as a feminist icon, and reveals the surprising ways Greek helped form English. Filled with Norris’s memorable encounters with Greek words, Greek gods, Greek wine—and more than a few Greek waiters—Greek to Me is the Comma Queen’s fresh take on Greece and the exotic yet strangely familiar language that so deeply influences our own.
Mary Norris joined the editorial staff of The New Yorker in 1978 and has been a copy editor and proofreader there for more than thirty years. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she lives in New York and Rockaway. She graduated from Rutgers University in 1974. She earned a masters in English from the University of Vermont. Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (W. W. Norton) was her first book and she gave a TED Talk pertaining to the same topic of her book. Greek to Me is her second book.
Gregory Maguire has written several dozen books for children and another dozen novels for adults. His best known work is Wicked, which inspired the musical now in its 15th year on Broadway. He reviews occasionally for the Sunday New York Times Book Review and has been an advocate for children and their books for most of his professional life. His most recent novel for adults is Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker.