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.
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 second year of the Festival, in addition to our extraordinary Authors XI guest speakers, we are delighted to be welcoming the following guest presenters
Sofka Zinovieff was born in London, has Russian ancestry and is deeply attached to Greece. She studied social anthropology at Cambridge, did research for her PhD in the Peloponnes and then lived in Moscow and Rome. She is the acclaimed author of three works of non-fiction, Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens, Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life and The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me (a New York Times Editors' Choice 2015). Her latest book is Putney, an explosive and thought-provoking novel about the far-reaching repercussions of an illicit relationship between a young girl and a much older man. It features an Anglo-Greek family and is set in England and Greece and was chosen as a best book of 2018 by The Observer, The Spectator and the New Statesman.
Her one previous novel, The House on Paradise Street is about on an Athenian family divided by civil war and the contemporary crisis. Her writing has appeared in publications including the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the Spectator and the Independent. She is married, has two daughters and lives in Athens.
Frances Edmonds would happily go to jail for the sake of a good one-liner. The iconoclastic humor of her early writing so outraged the UK’s ossified sporting and political establishments that she had to escape to Australia. Her cricket books, Another Bloody Tour and Cricket XXXX Cricket became overnight bestsellers and she ended up fronting Australia’s top-rated breakfast TV show. She has spent the last 18 months researching the sinister shenanigans of Silicon Valley where she kept her suitcase packed.
Frances spent her early career as an international conference interpreter, she is fluent in four languages and consults extensively on strategic and cross-cultural communication. She is a founder member, fellow and lifetime achievement award winner of the UK’s Professional Speaking Association and has worked extensively as a broadcaster on radio and television for the BBC and independent media worldwide. A successful entrepreneur, she helped create the UK’s most prestigious business development network. In the springtime of her senility, she was awarded a Fellowship at the Distinguished Careers Institute of Stanford University and is currently researching her next book, “It’s Never Too Late.”
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.
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..
Jim Potts, OBE, MA (Oxon), read English at Wadham College, Oxford, studied Education as a postgrad. at London University of Education, and Film Production as a postgrad. at Bristol University Dept.of Drama. He worked in international cultural relations and as a media consultant, 1969–2004; served in Ethiopia, Kenya, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Australia, Sweden and the UK. Produced educational and documentary films and television programmes in Africa; organized film training and script-writing workshops; edited the journal Educational Broadcasting International in London.
Born in Bristol, Jim grew up in Somerset and now lives in Dorset. He is married to the Corfiot writer, Maria Strani-Potts (author of the novel, The Cat of Portovecchio, Corfu Tales). They come to Corfu and Epirus every year and we are thrilled that Jim will be talking about his just published collection of short stories, This Spinning World.
Bart Jan, a Dutchman, decided to follow his heart and move to Greece to get more out of life. During his first winter months he witnessed his first olive harvest and could not believe the fresh and aromatic taste olive oil can have. Following his curiosity, he quickly learned that this quality extra virgin olive oil is hardly ever bottled 100% pure, but mostly mixed with fairly dull tasting, old harvest olive oil in order to keep prices low.
The experience stuck with him and an idea began to form in his mind. He strongly felt the need to honour the divine taste and power of this beautiful product and most importantly, share this unique sensation and experience with others. The idea seemed simple at first. Truth be told, it took two years of research & development before Neolea was bottled for the first time. Stepping into a somewhat sleeping market which had tasted and looked the same for 30 years, after redesigning and rethinking olive oil and all that is has to offer, Neolea was finally born. Today Neolea Extra Virgin Olive Oil is being sold in more than 8 countries. It’s embraced by food professionals, food lovers and most importantly lovers of life and Bart is a passionate champion of Corfu's olive oil and all its benefits and qualities.
Polyxeni Strolonga was born in Athens and studied Classics at the University of Athens. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she completed a dissertation on “Reciprocity and the Divine: A Study of the major Homeric Hymns.” She has taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Brigham Young University, the Franklin & Marshall College and the Hellenic Open University. She was a research fellow at the interdisciplinary Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities and she participated in the teaching program Sunoikisis at the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard University.
Her publications and research interests focus on the study of the archaic age, especially through Homer and the Homeric Hymns, with a special emphasis on Greek religion, the reception of myth and the application of anthropology on the study of the archaic society.
Rachel Weaving is a garden maker and author who divides her time between Washington, DC and Corfu. After a career in international financial organisations, she followed up a lifelong love of gardens, obtaining a Royal Horticultural Society Certificate in Horticulture, studying garden design at the Oxford College of Garden Design, and advising on garden design.
She began creating her current garden fourteen years ago on a Corfiot hillside. The challenge of doing so led her to study the island’s gardening conditions and traditions and their roots in its culture, history, and natural environment.
Her beautiful book, the Gardens of Corfu, illustrated with stunning images by the acclaimed photographer Marianne Majurus, was recently highly commended at the prestigious Runciman Awards.