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The Folger Spotlight

'The Latinist' by Mark Prins

Folger Book Club returns on Thursday, June 6 with a discussion of The Latinist by Mark Prins. To get ready for the conversation, we’ve compiled some introductory information on loose adaptation of the Daphne and Apollo myth.

What is The Latinist about?

Tessa Templeton has thrived at Oxford University under the tutelage and praise of esteemed classics professor Christopher Eccles. And now, his support is the one thing she can rely on: her job search has yielded nothing, and her devotion to her work has just cost her her boyfriend, Ben. Yet shortly before her thesis defense, Tessa learns that Chris has sabotaged her career—and realizes their relationship is not at all what she believed.

Driven by what he mistakes as love for Tessa, Chris has ensured that no other institution will offer her a position, keeping her at Oxford with him. His tactics grow more invasive as he determines to prove he has her best interests at heart. Meanwhile, Tessa scrambles to undo the damage—and in the process makes a startling discovery about an obscure second-century Latin poet that could launch her into academic stardom, finally freeing her from Chris’s influence.

A contemporary reimagining of the Daphne and Apollo myth, The Latinist is a page-turning exploration of power, ambition, and the intertwining of love and obsession.

Critical Reception

” . . . like the best thrillers, “The Latinist” is ingenious in its sinister simplicity. . . especially fun if you like your mysteries brainy” —NPR

“Prins’s confident, engrossing debut novel The Latinist provided a thrilling start to a new year in reading” —Vanity Fair

Why did we choose this book?

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s collection explores not only Shakespeare’s life and works, but also the plays’ historical context, source material, critical and performance histories, and the ways in which they inspire and are adapted by contemporary novelists.

Shakespeare often referenced mythology within his plays and was known to adapt the classics for narrative purposes, updating ancient stories for his own modern time and relying heavily on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Folger Book Club joins Folger Theatre and Folger Consort in exploring the artistic afterlives of Ovid’s works with this contemporary retelling of the Daphne and Apollo myth.

About the author: Mark Prins

From W. W. Norton

Mark Prins is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of fellowships from the Truman Capote Literary Trust, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Content Transparency

The Latinist includes references to potentially sensitive subjects. Expand below for a list of content.

May’s Bookstore Partner

This month, we are excited to partner with a new bookstore recently opened in downtown Takoma Park, The People’s Book! With over 12,000 new books, they provide readers of all ages opportunities to explore, learn, and connect. Check their calendar to see our upcoming author events and monthly book clubs!

Shop in person seven days a week from 9am-8pm at their store in Takoma Park, or order online from You can also order this title as an audiobook through

Purchase your copy of The Latinist

We would like to thank the following organizations for their generous support of this program

Capitol Hill Community Foundation
Junior League of Washington

Join us for an upcoming event

Neurodivergent/All Abilities Dance Class

Neurodivergent/All Abilities Dance Class

Show us your moves in this free program as we welcome Zamdance, a dance fitness program for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Sat, Jul 6, 2024
Hip Hop and Spoken Word

Hip Hop and Spoken Word

Folger welcomes acclaimed hip hop and spoken word artist Kokayi for a free evening of music and poetry.
Fri, Jul 12, 2024
Folger Lawn
Folger Book Fair 2024

Folger Book Fair 2024

Shop a curated book selection inspired by Folger Theatre, Poetry, and Book Club programs while learning more about what we have planned.
Sat, Jul 14, 11am-3pm