Alumni Profile – Claire Heywood


I was a pupil at The Westwood School, as it was then called, between 2004 and 2011. From the age of 12, sat in my Year 7 English class making up stories and poems and plays, I dreamed of one day becoming an author, and now almost a decade after leaving school I am awaiting the publication of my first novel, and working toward a second.

English was always my favourite subject at school, and I owe a lot to my teachers for encouraging me in my creative writing, and for organising trips such as author talks and theatre performances. I stayed on at Westwood to study my A-Levels, and really enjoyed the subjects I had chosen: English Literature, French, and Religious Studies. But when it came to applying for university I started looking for something a bit different, and realised I could combine my love of literature, language, history and culture by choosing a course in Classics (the study of ancient Greece and Rome).

As soon as I started my university course in Classical Civilisation at the University of Warwick I absolutely fell in love with the subject, and completed my BA with the highest degree mark in the year. I then stayed on to study for a master’s degree in Ancient Visual and Material Culture. After university I had to decide what to do next, so before I got a ‘proper job’ I took the opportunity to try and write a novel. After all, that was what I had always wanted to do and even if it didn’t go anywhere I had to at least give it a go. I went through various jobs while I was writing the novel, and then in the subsequent years when I was trying to find an agent/publisher – I worked as an art gallery steward, a private tutor, a tour guide, a receptionist – and then at the beginning of 2020 I finally got a publishing deal, so I quit my day job and am now self-employed as an author.

My novel Daughters of Sparta, set in ancient Greece and retelling the story of the Trojan War, comes out in July 2021.