Homer is the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, the two greatest Greek epic poems. Nothing is known about Homer personally; it is not even known for certain whether there is only one true author of these two works. Homer is thought to have been an Ionian from the 9th or 8th century B.C. While historians argue over the man, his impact on literature, history, and philosophy is so significant as to be almost immeasurable. The Iliad relates the tale of the Trojan War, about the war between Greece and Troy, brought about by the kidnapping of the beautiful Greek princess, Helen, by Paris. It tells of the exploits of such legendary figures as Achilles, Ajax, and Odysseus. The Odyssey recounts the subsequent return of the Greek hero Odysseus after the defeat of the Trojans. On his return trip, Odysseus braves such terrors as the Cyclops, a one-eyed monster; the Sirens, beautiful temptresses; and Scylla and Charybdis, a deadly rock and whirlpool. Waiting for him at home is his wife who has remained faithful during his years in the war. Both the Iliad and the Odyssey have had numerous adaptations, including several film versions of each.
Children and young adult novelist Geraldine McCaughrean was born in Enfield, England and educated at Christ Church College, Canterbury. She worked as a secretary at Thames Television and later worked for a London publishing house. Her writing career includes the retelling of such classics as "One Thousand and One Arabian Nights," "The Canterbury Tales" and "The Bronze Cauldron: Myths and Legends of the World," which is a collection of stories from all over the world. McCaughrean has won the Whitebread Award for "A Little Lower Than the Angels," the Guardian Prize and Carnegie Medal for "A Pack of Lies," and the Beefeater Children's Novel Award for "Gold Dawn."