A free literary event at the seaside in Greece including creative writing workshops, meet the author events and performance poetry.
Anne Zouroudi fell madly in love with Greece on her first visit in the late 1980s, and became a real-life Shirley Valentine when she married a Greek fisherman on the tiny island of Symi. Life there inspired her to write The Messenger of Athens, an acclaimed crime novel with an intriguing touch of mythology in its enigmatic investigator, Hermes Diaktoros, described as the Greek Hercule Poirot. Anne has gone on to write seven more Greek Detective mysteries - all hymns to Greece’s landscapes, people and food - which delight fans around the globe. She is also the author of the gripping bestseller Found under the pseudonym Erin Kinsley.
James Heneage is a writer who lives half the year in the Mani. He is the author of the four-book Mistra Chronicles, published by Quercus, and is currently writing The Shortest History of Greece which will be published spring 2020 by Old Street Publishing. He is the founder of the Ottakar's Bookshop Chain which he sold to Waterstones in 2006 and of the Chalke Valley History Festival. He has chaired the Cheltenham Literary Festival and the Costa Book Prize and was a Booker prize judge in 2008. He likes walking, Tintin and Greece.
My mother listens to me unperturbed, and when I finish, she says:
“These are the words of a diseased mind. Don’t you ever breathe a single word about all this to anyone, you poor thing, because you’ll end up in the loony bin.”
In this acclaimed novel, hugely successful when first published in Greek, Auguste Corteau (Petros Hatzopoulos) imagines his mother Katerina’s inner life, with wit and earthy humour observing the saga of their extended family’s ups and downs in the city of Thessaloniki over a hundred years.
From the poverty of the 1920s after the Asia Minor Catastrophe through to affluence and aspirations of grandeur – a gigantic Ford is imported from America for trips to the beach – sicknesses are hidden, and siblings torture siblings. Hilarious characters come and go – such as Lazaros, who dies his hair auburn and dresses in floor-length shiny leather coats with more jewellery than Liberace; and Vangelis, who dresses in polyester suits with huge lapels unbuttoned to the navel to show off the enormous golden cross that lies on the thick fur of his chest, and dyes his pompadour with shoe polish.
The family use money to make up for love, and mental illness haunts them as if in Biblical vengeance. Katerina drags her husband and son into the chaos of her unhappiness as she lurches between love and hate, booze and pills, threatening the lives of herself and others. While making her son keep his homosexuality a secret, she smothers him with a destructive love until he finds her on her deathbed as he turns twenty-four. Katerina’s story begins with her own end – a kind of confession: the sometimes moving, sometimes shocking tale of a struggle with bipolar disorder.
Auguste Corteau is the pen name of Petros Hatzopoulos. Born in Thessaloniki in 1979, he currently lives in Athens. He is the author of fourteen novels as well as plays, novellas and short story collections and is a recipient of the Greek National Book Award for Children’s Literature. He has also translated many works of literature into Greek, from Nabokov’s Lolita to Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men. An LGBT activist, in 2016 he signed a Cohabitation Pact with his partner, the first same-sex couple to do so after the law was passed in the Greek Parliament.
This is a free event.