Liv Albert has a fascination with all thing’s Greek mythology. A passion she has now spanned into an impressive career despite starting out alone, and unsure of its success. A passion that also fills her head with an impressive breadth of knowledge about Greek Myth.
Albert has always had a love for mythology, but it was when she was working in publishing in Vancouver that she suddenly embarked on this journey. It was a dull and unfulfilling time for her. “My office had no windows, there was nobody near me; it was like a quarter-life crisis.” Something clicked for her and her keen knowledge of Greek mythology helped her navigate her life. Albert began Let’s Talk About Myth Baby, with a desperate hope that it would pay off. 300 episodes, and 43k followers later, Albert felt the last three years spent toiling was worth it.
Albert has a lot of exciting energy when recounting her passion project. Her successes aren’t just limited to podcasting. She is also an author. In 2008, curious about Greek mythology and classical literature, she began writing her own fictional retelling of Harmonia, a deity who Albert felt was underrated yet fascinating. The book never took off. “In hindsight, it was garbage,” she says.
DEBUT: Greek Mythology, The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes
Her debut book is Greek Mythology, The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes, a detailed yet snappy guide to Greek Mythology. Unlike so many mythology books which often are overwrought with stuffy language, Albert breathes life into her work. The conversational tone and pop culture reference, up the inherent humor of the myths.
Yet it was her unfinished novel that sparked her interest in Greek myth, and now almost two decades later, she is reviving the book she buried under. “Back then it was never going anywhere. But now it really fits in with this trend of feminist Greek myth retellings.”
In the last few years, a flux of Greek mythology retellings, interpreted through a feminist lens emerged. Books like Circe by Madeline Miller, Pat Barker’s Silence of the Girls, Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne, and Natalia Haynes’s Pandora’s Jar have soared in popularity, challenging the misogynistic view of women in Greek myth. “Now there are enough women in the field, their voices, and the women they write about are becoming more valued. Even though Greek myth is still myth…it’s a reflection of culture and society then and so it teaches us a lot.”
‘The men’s voices are always the loudest in the room.’
For centuries ancient Greek mythology has immortalized the actions of men, whilst marginalizing women. Albert is a part of a new wave of women writers who are shifting the canon. In Greek mythology, language is key. In most translations by male authors words like ‘whore’ or ‘harlot,’ are used often interchangeably despite the original Greek being just a form of the word, ‘woman.’ Whether it is conscious or not, male authors translating the classics have continually reinforced this masculinist reading of Greek myth.
One of the things Albert’s book does is call out this issue by saying it how it is without disguising the actions of heroes and Gods through euphemism. “In almost every Greek myth book, they’ll say things like ‘Zeus wrapped her away,’ or ‘ravished her,’ and such, but these are euphemisms for assault.” Both Albert’s podcast and book have attracted what she calls ‘triggered incels,’ who disagree with Albert’s criticism of Greek Myth heroes and Gods.
Her latest release is Nectar of the Gods, a retelling of ancient tales honoring the women of Greek mythology, with a twist. In Nectar of the Gods, each character is paired with a unique craft of cocktail recipes. It’s a blend of Stephen Fry’s Mythos and Apotheke’s cocktail book. “It was dorky and fun,” she says. But she craves more.
Albert will be on a writer’s retreat to an island in Greece for two months and hoping that the sea and the place where these myths were born, will inspire her.
Find Greek Mythology – The Gods, Goddess, and Heroes Handbook here