In 2021, in addition to our extraordinary Authors XI guest speakers, we were delighted to welcome the following guest presenters

Sarah Churchwell.jfif

 Sarah Churchwell is Professor in American Literature and Chair of Public            Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where she is Director of the UK’s national festival of the humanities, the Being Human Festival.  She is the author of Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great Gatsby, The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, and most recently, Behold, America: A History of America First and the American Dream. She has written for the New York Review of Books, Prospect, Guardian, New Statesman, Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement, and New York Times Book Review, among many others, and comments regularly on arts, culture, and politics for television, radio, and film documentaries. She has judged many literary prizes, including the 2014 Man Booker Prize and the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize for nonfiction, and was a co-winner of the 2015 Eccles British Library Writer’s Award. Named by Prospect magazine one of the world’s Top Fifty Thinkers in 2019, she is currently working on a short project about Gone with the Wind, and a long project about Henry James.

Jonathan Coe.png

Jonathan Coe is the authors of thirteen novels which include the highly acclaimed bestsellers What a Carve Up!The House of SleepThe Rotters' Club, Number 11 and Middle England, which won the Costa Novel of the Year Award and the Prix du Livre Europeen and which was described as "the first great Brexit novel". He is also the author of a biography of B.S. Johson, Like a Fiery Elephant, and the The Broken Mirror, a children's book. 


Lee Durrell MBE  is an American naturalist, author, zookeeper, and television presenter. She is best known for her work in animal conservation with her late husband, Gerald Durrell and for co-authoring books with him. She became the Honorary Director of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust after the death of
her husband in 1995. She was instrumental in getting the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust renamed after Gerald, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Jersey Zoo. She is also a member of various expert groups on conservation, and is fondly called "Mother Tortoise" in certain areas of Madagascar.   Lee acted as consultant for The Durrells, the widely acclaimed hit ITV dramatisation of My Family and Other Animals and was awarded Honourary Citizenship of Corfu in 2018.  Lee divides her time between Corfu and Jersey. 


Melanie Hewitt After deciding she wanted to be a book illustrator, at 18, Melanie went to Art College.  Halfway through the year, she changed her mind and secured a place at Swansea University to study English. After 18 months, she left, moved home and started looking for work as a nanny in London. A local job advert for a reporter changed her life and career. She took up the post at the Doncaster Advertiser, later became Editor and then worked in PR. She now works in education as Communications Lead for the XP Schools Trust based in Yorkshire and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. After a life long love of the Durrell family and their writing, her debut novel ‘Looking for the Durrells’ was published by Harper Collins in August this year. Married with two grown up children and adoptive mother to the latest Hewitt family member, Ernie the kitten, Melanie is now working on her second book.

Julian Hoffman.jpg

Julian Hoffman is a writer and naturalist, and is the author of Irreplaceable, The Small Heart of Things and Notes from Near and Far, his blog on the nature of place. Born in northeast England, he grew up in Ontario and moved with his wife in 2000 to a mountain village beside the Prespa Lakes in northwestern Greece, a transboundary Balkan park whose lake basin is shared with Albania and North Macedonia. Home to a remarkably rich range of people, birds, wild flowers, languages, mammals and habitats, including the world's largest colony of Dalmatian pelicans, Prespa is a place that has taught Julian a great deal about our complex yet indelible connections to landscape and the natural world. Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places, celebrates those imperilled places that are increasingly vanishing from the world, exploring treasured woodlands, prairies, marshlands, urban allotments and coral reefs, along with the many species under threat in them. Just as importantly though, it’s a book about resistance to loss and the countless stories of local communities and conservationists as they set about to protect and preserve what is not only of crucial importance to the fabric of human life but irreplaceable as well. Irreplaceable was a Royal Geographical Society Book of the Year and the Highly Commended Finalist for the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation.


Professor Bettany Hughes is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster, who has devoted the last 25 years to the vibrant communication of the past. Her speciality is ancient and mediaeval history and culture and she has taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and lectured at Cornell, Bristol, UCL, Maastricht, Utrecht, Manchester and Swansea.  She has written and presented over 50 TV and radio documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Netflix, Discovery, PBS, The History Channel, National Geographic, BBC World and ITV and her programmes, including 2020's A Greek Odyssey, have now been seen by over 250 million worldwide.  Bettany has long drawn attention to women’s position in society both past and present and she is also an honorary, founding patron of Classics For All - a national campaign to get classical languages and the study of classical civilisations back into state schools.  In 2019 Bettany became Chair of the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction and was awarded an OBE for services to history.  Her books, Helen of Troy, The Hemlock Cup, Istanbul - A Tale of Three Cities and, most recently, Venus and Aphrodite have been bestsellers and translated into several languages. 


Costas Kaloudis is the executive Director of the Ionian Environment Foundation.  He is an environmentalist, specialised on climate change and has worked with environmental organisations in Europe.  Born and raised in Corfu, he is passionate about nature, the Ionian Islands and sustainability transitions. Before returning to Corfu he was a climate activist, while having also campaigned for sustainable agriculture and against the use of harmful herbicides in agriculture. He is the person on the ground for the Ionian Environment Foundation, mandated to work across the Ionian Islands and involved for some time in the campaign to Save Erimitis.

Stavros Katsios.png

Stavros Katsios is Professor of International Economic Relations and International Economic Crime at the Ionian University, Corfu, Greece and Director of the Laboratory for Geocultural Analyses (Geolab), Chair Holder of the UNESCO Chair on Threats to Cultural Heritage and Cultural Heritage-related Activities at the Ionian University Coordinator of the Yellow Tourism Research Consortium and Deputy Head of the Department of Foreign Languages Translation and Interpreting. He has studied law at the “Albertus Magnus” University, Cologne,  at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. (scholarship for attending courses in International Law and Policy) and at the Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece. 

Nikos  Mamalos.jpeg

Nikolaos Dimitrios Mamalos was born in Corfu in 1981. He studied Theology at the University of Athens and History at the Ionian University. He received his MA in «Methodology on Criticism and Publication of Historical Sources» in 2016 at the Ionian University. The subject of his thesis was an unknown «Guide to Confession», dating back to 19th century, found in an Eastern Orthodox Monastery of North Corfu. He is a PhD student of DFLTI Department and researcher of the LABoratory of GEOcultural Analyses ( at the Ionian University. His doctoral thesis investigates the life and work of the greatest Greek traveler of Asia and Africa Panaghiotis Potagos. He is a H.F.R.I/G.S.R.T. scholar. He often writes articles in the local press and works as a secondary school teacher. 


Anastasia Miari Anglo-Corfiot writer Anastasia Miari is based in Athens and freelances for The Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian and The Sunday Times in the UK and further afield, The National in the UAE and The New York Times, focusing on travel, food, sustainability and news stories within Greece. Anastasia is a published author and ghost writer. She won the 2021 scholarship with publishing house Faber & Faber. Her first book, the Wallpaper Guide to Athens was published by Phaidon in 2020. Publication of her second book, Grand Dishes, featuring the time-perfected dishes and stories of grandmothers worldwide was published in 2021. 


Nicolas Papadimitriou (PhD) was born in Athens. He has studied law, philosophy and music in Athens, London and Paris (B.A. Law, University of Athens, Postgraduate Studies in Philosophy of Art, Docteur d’État in Arts et Sciences de l’Art, Université de Paris – Sorbonne, Music Composition, CNSMP). Professor at D.F.L.T.I. Ionian University, he is teaching since 2002 Modern European Culture. He has also lectured at Iztapalapa and Nacional Universities of Mexico City, as well as at the Évry Val d’Essonne University in France and various other universities in Europe and the USA. Furthermore, he has given numerous music concerts both as a musician and composer. Since 2010 he is giving lectures at both the Strasbourg (ITIRI) and Montpellier III (Paul Valéry) universities about art, philosophy and politics in contemporary Europe (through the Erasmus exchange program). His recent publications in French, English and Greek pertain to modern Europe and the place of Greece in it. His books on European Modernity are edited in Greece by the Dardanos/Gutenberg editions and in France by the Delatour-France editions.

Alex Sakalis.png

Alex Sakalis is a writer, journalist and former associate editor at openDemocracy. He has written extensively on Greece and the Mediterranean including studies on Italian architecture, Sicily's many faces, Albania's Enver Hoxha and Balkan politics, as well as topics as wide ranging as Corfu's best beaches and restaurants to the island's cricketing legacy.  Alex is a doctoral student at the Ionian University and a member of the Lord Guilford Project and lives in Bologna.  


Dominic Sandbrook was born in Shropshire,  educated at Malvern College and studied history and French at Balliol College, Oxford. He then studied for a master's in history at St Andrews University and a PhD at Jesus College, Cambridge. Previously a lecturer in history at the University of Sheffield, he has been a senior fellow of the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University and a member of its history faculty. Sandbrook was a visiting professor at King's Collage, London and a freelance writer and newspaper columnist. Dominic is best known for his TV documentaries and eight engaging books on 20th Century history, including Never Had It So Good and Who Dares Wins.    

Elisabeth Speller.jpg

Elizabeth Speller read archaeology and classics at Cambridge, followed by a postgraduate degree in ancient history. She is a poet and author of four non-fiction books, including a biography of Emperor Hadrian, companion guides to Rome and Athens and a memoir, TheSunlight on the Garden.  Elizabeth Speller has a Cambridge MA and MPhil. and was a visiting scholar at Lucy Cavendish College. Elizabeth is Chair of the London Hellenic Prize.  Her three novels include The Return of Captain John Emmett and At Break of Day. They are published in eight countries. She was short-listed for the Forward Prize for Poetry and provided the libretto for Michael Berkeley's work Farewell, written in memory of Sir Paul McCartney 's wife Linda.  Her journalism includes The Independent, the Financial Times, the TLS, and Vogue. She has taught at Cambridge, Bristol and Birmingham Universities and was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Warwick. Elizabeth is very experienced in teaching mature students and her classes tend to be thematic and discursive, as well as informative, often including visual material and music; she hopes by the end of her course students feel they have learned rather than simply been taught.  She lives in Gloucestershire and Paxos and has just published an anthology or short stories..