Emily Wilson: Reading The Iliad, featuring Ben Shenkman and Morgan Spector

Tue. Apr 30, 2024 7:00pm - 8:00pm EDT
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The groundbreaking translator and professor of classics reads from and discusses her masterful new English version of the greatest literary landmark of antiquity.

Book Cover of The IliadIn-person registration for this event has sold out, but livestream tickets are still available. A limited number of standby tickets will be available on the night of the event.

Emily Wilson spent nearly a decade wrestling with her translation of the great Homeric epic, The Iliad, which she calls, “the most gripping and heartbreaking work of literature I know.” The poem, she writes, “evokes human greatness and human vulnerability...even now, when I turn back to lines I have read hundreds of times already, I find that the raw power of the Greek still startles me.” Wilson reads from her translation (and perhaps some in the original Greek as well!), and discusses the clamor of arms, the bellowing boasts, the fury, and grief that define the thrilling, magical, and emotionally complex poem.

Actors Ben Shenkman and Morgan Spector will read selections from Wilson's translation.

To join the event in person | Doors will open 45 minutes before the program begins. Purchase a drink from the NYPL bar and a snack from Amy's Bread while you mingle before the event! For LIVE from NYPL events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment; we will do our best to accommodate everyone. Booked seats that have not been claimed will be released shortly before start time, and seats may become available then. A standby line will form 45 minutes before the program.

To join the livestream | A livestream of this event will be available on the NYPL event page. To receive an email reminder shortly in advance of the event, please be sure to register! If you encounter any issues, please join us on NYPL's YouTube channel.


Emily Wilson headshotEmily Wilson is the College for Women Class of 1963 Term Professor in the Humanities and a professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been named a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome in Renaissance and Early Modern scholarship, a MacArthur Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow. Her best-selling 2017 translation of Homer’s Odyssey has achieved “canonical status,” according to The Atlantic and The Washington Post. Her translation of The Iliad has just been released by Norton. In addition, she has also published translations of Sophocles, Euripides, and Seneca, as well as books about tragedy, Socrates, and Seneca, and serves as an editor of The Norton Anthology of World Literature.

Ben Shenkman headshotBen Shenkman recently completed his seventh season of Billions and recurred on The Good Fight, Peacock's The Calling, and Robert & Michelle King's limited series The Bite.

He had regular roles on Shondaland's ABC series For the People and five seasons of Royal Pains, recurred on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and was featured in HBO's acclaimed The Night of and Angels in America (Emmy and Golden Globe noms.). Movie credits include The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Gotham award), Blue Valentine, Then She Found Me, and Pi.

On Broadway he appeared in Larry David's Fish in the Dark, Sight Unseen and Proof (Tony nom.).

Morgan Spector headshotMorgan Spector, a luminary of stage and screen, captivates audiences with his dynamic portrayals across film, theater, and television. His classical training infuses each performance with depth and authenticity, earning him widespread acclaim.

In his upcoming film I Don't Understand You, which navigates the challenges of an American couple stranded in rural Italy, Spector plays the role of “Massimo,” a portrayal that premiered on March 8, 2024 at SXSW to eager audiences. Recently, he reprised his lead role in HBO's The Gilded Age, alongside a stellar cast, garnering a SAG Award nomination and anticipation for the upcoming Season 3; to begin production later this year.

Notable for his role in David Simon's The Plot Against America, Spector's talent extends to television, with appearances in acclaimed series such as Homeland and Boardwalk Empire. His cinematic endeavors include roles in award-winning films like Nanny and A Vigilante, showcasing his versatility and depth as an actor.

With a rich stage background, including Broadway performances and off-Broadway acclaim, Spector's journey from the American Conservatory Theater to New York stages exemplifies his dedication to the craft. Beyond acting, Spector's involvement in Audible's The Miranda Obsession and his directorial short (Mother!!) and producer credits (The Big Scary ‘S’ Word) accentuate his multifaceted talent.

Residing in New York with his family, Spector continues to enrich the world of entertainment with his unparalleled artistry and commitment to storytelling.


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In-Person | Assistive listening devices and/or hearing loops are available at the venue. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) captioning service by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email accessibility@nypl.org or use this Gmail template. This venue is fully accessible to wheelchairs. 

Livestream | Captions and a transcript will be provided. Media used over the course of the conversation will be accompanied by alt text and/or audio description. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email accessibility@nypl.org or use this Gmail template.


For questions and inquiries, please email publicprograms@nypl.org or use this Gmail template.

Please submit press inquiries at least 48 hours before the event: email press@nypl.org or use this Gmail template.

The New York Public Library's free services and resources are made possible thanks to the support of the Friends of the Library. Join this group of Library lovers and take advantage of special membership benefits, like invitations to members-only virtual events, discounts at the Library Shop, and more. Join now.

LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund, and the support of Library patrons and friends.

Treasures programming is made possible by the Estate of Helen Sisserson.

Emily Wilson © Daniel McGarrity
Courtesy Ben Shenkman
Morgan Spector © Daemian and Christine

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Venue Details
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Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Celeste Bartos Forum 476 5th Ave
New York, NY 10018