Daisy Goodwin returns with Diva – a novel based on the heartbreaking life of iconic Opera star Maria Callas

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Publishing 14th March 2024, £20 –  Head of Zeus 

‘An extraordinary, vivid, and skilful re-imagining of a modern Greek legend.’  Victoria Hislop

In this remarkable novel, Daisy Goodwin brings to life a woman whose extraordinary talent, unremitting drive and natural chic made her a legend. But it was only in confronting the heartbreak of losing the man she loved that Maria Callas found her true voice.

In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas is known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic and striking beauty, she’s the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. Yet her fame has been hard won: raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her, Maria learned early in life how to protect herself. When she meets the fabulously rich shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, her isolation melts away. For the first time in her life, she believes she’s found a man who sees Maria the woman rather than the legendary soprano. Desperately in love, Callas follows Onassis into the world of International Café Society, mixing with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Princess Grace and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

And then, suddenly, it’s over. The international press announced that Onassis will marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.


“I have wanted to write about Callas for years. Her unique combination of talent and ambition made her an irresistible subject for a novel. I wanted to tell a story as compelling as its subject: a heroine with a superpower, a voice that entranced the whole world. Still to this very day, Maria Callas is Warner Music’s bestselling classical artist. What I love about Maria Callas is that unlike her contemporaries Marilyn Monroe or Judy Garland, she never doubted her own worth. When the Vienna Opera invited her to sing, she asked for a fee that equaled that of its musical director Herbert von Karajan.

The more I came to understand Maria (I even studied opera singing) the more resonant her story became. She was one of the first women in the public eye to be ‘monstered’ because she refused to play nice. She had no studio system to protect her, and her entire career was predicated on her as the “Diva”, capricious and unreasonable, who would disappoint opera companies and audiences seemingly on a whim. She became famous not just for her talent, but for her private life. She was a musical genius who lived in a cauldron of celebrity not of her own making. She wanted recognition, but for her art, not for being the elegant woman at the side of the world’s richest man.

I hope and believe that Diva is as relevant to young women who have never heard Callas sing as it is to the generation that grew up with her. How do strong women speak their mind without being labelled “divas”, and why is it that women of genius are still judged by different standards to men? Maria is not always ‘likeable’, but I think she is always genuine. She had something that today we must value above all things, authenticity.”


2024 will usher in the celebration of Maria Callas centenary – an artist that to this day is Warner Music’s all-time bestselling classical singer. Callas is spotlighted in the major V&A museum exhibition Diva, supported by NET-A-PORTER, running until April 2024. A film based on the artist directed by Pablo Larraín is in production with Angelina Jolie starring as the legendary Oprea star. Daisy Goodwin, the ultimate Callas aficionado, went to great lengths to learn to sing as a soprano for her research. Goodwin is incredibly passionate in exploring the role of ‘diva’, how this has been subverted and embraced over time and why, even a century later, Maria Callas remains an unrivalled icon for the modern-day woman


 ‘With its glamour, celebrity and heartbreak this is the unstoppable story of ambition and desire that enchantress Daisy Goodwin was born to write.’ Lucy Worsley

 ‘Elegant, adult, ultimately very moving, Diva presents an amazingly convincing Maria, while always conveying the power of the majestic Callas myth.’ Laura Thompson

‘The spectacular Daisy Goodwin has written Diva, an epic novel about Maria Callas in love that hits every note and soars off the page. You will root for Callas as she navigates her dynamic career and a love affair that will break her heart. Told with tenderness and power, this is bravura storytelling in the hands of a master.’ Adriana Trigiani

 ‘I’ve been completely overwhelmed by Diva: by the pleasure of reading such a marvellous ardent, romantic yet utterly worldly book.’ Antonia Fraser


About Daisy Goodwin

Daisy Goodwin’s work as a TV producer and presenter includes Reader I Married Him, Bookworm and The Nation’s Favourite Poems; she is also the creator of Grand Designs and the hit ITV drama Victoria, which has sold to 134 countries. She has edited numerous poetry anthologies, including the bestselling 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life, and is the author of Silver River, a memoir, as well as three bestselling novels: My Last Duchess, The Fortune Hunter and Victoria. Her work has been translated into seventeen languages.

Discover more: http://www.daisygoodwin.co.uk/

For all publicity enquiries, please contact:

Georgina Moore: georgina.moore@midaspr.co.uk  

Tina Mories: tina.mories@midaspr.co.uk