The Corfu Literary Festival is proud to be hosting events in some of the most historic and loveliest buildings on the island, providing further charm and atmosphere to the presentations and forming part of the cultural aspect of the Festival itself. Corfu's rich and varied heritage is reflected in the diversity of her architecture and our friends and colleagues working at these buildings and institutions are delighted to welcome the Festival's speakers and guests. Visitors may wish to arrive a little early for the evening presentations so that they can explore their surroundings before settling down to listen to the speakers.
For 2020's Festival, we have had to find lovely, unique and alternative outdoor venues for the events, so that our guests and participants may be socially distanced and safely in the fresh air. Details to follow.
Palace of St George and St Michael, Municipal Gallery
University of Ionion, Academy Building
Central Public Library, English Barracks, Old Fortress
Gymnastikos Athletic Club, est 1823
Capodistrias Museum and Grounds, Evropouli
Corfu Reading Society, est 1836
In this our third year of the Festival, in addition to our extraordinary Authors XI guest speakers, we are delighted to be welcoming the following guest presenters
Sabine Durrant is a former journalist who has worked at the Independent, The Sunday Times and the Guardian. She has written eight novels, including the psychological thrillers Under Your Skin, Remember Me This Way, Take Me In, and the bestselling Lie With Me. Her latest novel, Finders, Keepers, a whodunnit described by the Sunday Times as ‘reminiscent of Virago classics or the monologues of Alan Bennett…as rich a portrait as in any novel this year’, was published in July. She lives in south London with her husband, the writer Giles Smith, and their three children.
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.
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..
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.
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.
James Naughtie is an acclaimed author, journalist and broadcaster who brings an inquisitive eye and draws on his travels over forty years to tell the stories of America. his newest book On The Road is filled with anecdotes, memories, tears and laughter reflecting Naughtie’s characteristic warmth and enthusiasm and is a story filled with encounters, for example with the people he has watched on every presidential campaign from the 1970s to the victory of Donald Trump in 2016. In 2017 Naughtie gave the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture & in his speech he referred to the Trump presidency thus: "There hasn’t been in living memory in western democracy a threat to freedom of the press of the kind we see there.". James presented Radio 4's Today programme between 1994 and 2015, winning several awards during his tenure and is considered to be the heavyweight of political broadcasting, having previously hosted The Week in Westminster and The World At One. He has written extensively on politics also presented the televised Proms and Radio 3's Opera News and his book and series The Making Of Music with Notes explores this passion. James has also written two political thrillers. Naughtie was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Stirling in 2001 and installed as its chancellor in October 2008. He chaired the judges of the inaugural 2010 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2017.
David Goodhart is a journalist, author and think tanker—currently head of the demography unit at the Policy Exchange think tank. He is the founder and former editor of Prospect magazine and the former director of the centre-left think tank Demos. His 2013 book “The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Post-War Immigration” was runner up for the Orwell book prize. In his last book published in 2017 (a Sunday Times bestseller) The Road to Somewhere: The New Tribes Shaping British Politics, Goodhart identifies the value divisions in British society that help to explain the Brexit vote and the rise of populism. His latest book, just published, is called Head, Hand, Heart and argues that many of the modern world’s troubles arise from allocating too much reward and status to just one form of human aptitude: cognitive ability.
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.