ISLANDS OF THE MIND: Festival June 2019

The Durrell Library of Corfu


Corfu, Greece

 23-28 June 2019


The Durrell School/Library has always attracted the enquiring and adventurous mind, welcoming its guests into a community of intellectual excitement. “ISLANDS OF THE MIND” provided stimulus for all participants across a range of literary and scientific issues.


The festival  examined aspects of Island Studies, focussing on:

– indigenous island writing compared with writing by the “visitor”

– the literature and psychology of “islomania” – the “affliction of spirit” for those “who find islands irresistible”

– the study of islands as a microcosm of biodiversity

– the “tourist gaze” and tourism as a dimension of island development

This was the most significant gathering for many years of experts on the lives and works of Lawrence Durrell, Gerald Durrell and Theodore Stephanides and on the writers of Corfu.

In addition to these authors, we  also discussed the work of Corfiot writers Konstantin Theotokis (1872-1923) and Spyros Plaskovitis (1917-2000).

At the same time, the Durrell Library of Corfu launched the first issue of the online journal C.20 with a substantial section devoted to “Durrell Studies” – see 


Meetings were held in Corfu city-centre at the Solomos Museum, the former home of Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857), the founder of modern Greek poetry and author of the Greek national anthem “Hymn to Liberty”. The house has been faithfully restored by our hosts, the Society of Corfu Studies.

For one session, we travelled by caïque (traditional fishing vessel) from Corfu Old Port to the White House (Lawrence and Nancy Durrell’s home at Kalami) with an opportunity for swimming at the “Shrine of St Arsenius”.


A unique feature of “ISLANDS OF THE MIND” was the publication in a limited edition of Lawrence Durrell’s previously unpublished 1930s novella The Magnetic Island (set in the Ionian islands, with illustrations by Nancy Durrell and dedicated to Theodore Stephanides) with a specially commissioned translation into Greek by Vera Konidari.

We also announced imminent publication by Cambridge Scholars Publishing  of ENDPAPERS & INKLINGS: Uncollected Prose by Lawrence Durrell 1933-1988 edited by Richard Pine.

Selected papers from ISLANDS OF THE MIND, edited by Richard Pine and Vera Konidari will be published in 2020 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Convenors: William Apt (Attorney at Law, Austin, Texas); Vera Konidari (Society of Corfu Studies and biographer of Theodore Stephanides); Richard Pine (Director, Durrell Library of Corfu and author, Lawrence Durrell: the Mindscape).


(photos by Rony Alfandary and Spyros Sourvinos)


7pm Welcome reception


09.30-10.00 Opening address by Richard Pine

10-11.30  Keynote speaker: Godfrey Baldacchino (Professor of Sociology, University of Malta; UNESCO co-chair of Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada; author/editor of many books on island studies including the Routledge International Handbook of Island Studies)

“A Psychology of Islanders”GodfreyBALDACCHINO



Godfrey Baldacchino


Respondent: Spyros ORFANOS (Erikousa/NYU) “Ereikousa on my mind: a case study of Island Psychology”

SpyrosORFANOS Spyros Orfanos

coffee break

12-1.30pm Lee DURRELL – Islands and the study of biodiversity

LeeDURRELL2 Lee Durrell

Respondent: Pete HAY (University of Tasmania) “Island biogeography, a perspective from Tasmania”



Pete Hay


7-8pm Screening of “The Garden of the Gods” (BBC, 1967)


10-11.30 Rony ALFANDARY – “Reading Lawrence Durrell’s Psyche”

RonyALFANDARY Rony Alfandary

Respondent: Dominic GREEN (Boston)

DominicGREEN Dominic Green

coffee break

12-1.00pm Ravindran NAMBIAR – “Indian ways of locating Durrell’s key”

RavindranNAMBIAR Ravindran Nambiar

1pm-2pm Éilís NÍ DHUIBHNE: Ag Dul Isteach go dti an Oilean / Going into the Island”

EilisNiDHUIBHNE Eilis Ni Dhuibhne***

7-8.30pm Anna KORNILIOU: a presentation on Konstantin Theotokis (with the participation of a descendant, Dimitris Theotokis) followed by a screening of (excerpts from) “Oi sklavoi sto desma tous” [Slaves in their Chains]

Anna KORNILIOU Anna Korniliou


Caique from Old Harbour to St Arsenius (swimming) and KALAMI

Talk by Joanna HODGKIN at Kalami

JoannaHODGKIN Joanna Hodgkin

Q&A Simon NYE in conversation with Dominic GREEN followed by Lunch


Return to Corfu


10-11.30 Vera KONIDARI: “Theodore Stephanides: Trailing the Islands of his Mind”

VeraKONIDARI     Vera Konidari

Anthony HIRST: “Science and sensibility in the poetry of Theodore Stephanides”

AnthonyHIRST2 Anthony Hirst

coffee break

12-1.30pm Writing the island: the Durrells

David Green, Bruce Redwine, David Roessel, Nabil Abdel-Al


David Green              Bruce Redwine          David Roessel           Nabil Abdel-Al

7-8.30pm Screening of “A Smile in the Mind’s Eye” (BBC, 1998) and “What the Durrells Did Next” (ITV, 2019)


10-11am Presentation on Spyros Plaskovitis with the participation of Dimitri Konidaris and Perikles Pankratis


Dimitris Konidaris                     Alkis Leftheriotis introduces Perikles Pagratis

coffee break

11.30-1pm Richard PINE – “The Heraldic Universe: the Magnetic Island and self-discovery”

RichardPINE Richard Pine

Respondent: Ciaran BENSON (emeritus University College Dublin)

CiaranBENSON Ciaran Benson***

1pm-2pmRound-table final discussion with Billy Apt, Candace Fertile, Sujata Nag and Joanna Kruczkowska

BillyAPT CandaceFERTILE SujataNAG JoannaK(1)

Billy Apt              Candace Fertile   Sujata Nag      Joanna Kruczkowska

Evening: Farewell dinner

*** The participation of Ciarán Benson and Éilís ní Dhuibhne was supported by Culture ireland logo