ISLANDS OF THE MIND: Symposium June 2019

The Durrell Library of Corfu announces

a major literary and scientific symposium


Corfu, Greece

24-28 June 2019

The Durrell School/Library has always attracted the enquiring and adventurous mind, welcoming its guests into a community of intellectual excitement. We are confident that this symposium will provide stimulus for all participants across a range of literary and scientific issues.


The symposium will examine aspects of Island Studies, focussing on:

  • the psychology of “islomania” – the “affliction of spirit” for those “who find islands irresistible”1

  • the study of islands as a microcosm of biodiversity

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

  • indigenous island writing

This will be 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 will also discuss the work of Corfiot writers Konstantin Theotokis (1872-1923) and Spyros Plaskovitis (1917-2000).


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)

Confirmed speakers:

  • Rony Alfandary (psychoanalyst, Bar-Ilan University, Israel; author of A Psychoanalytic Study of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet: Exile and Return)

  • Ciaran Benson (emeritus Professor of Psychology, University College Dublin; author of The Cultural Psychology of Self: place, morality and art in human worlds)

  • Lee Durrell (honorary director, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust; widow of Gerald Durrell; author of Gaia: State of the Ark – an atlas of Conservation in Action)

  • Dominic Green (adjunct lecturer, Boston College and jazz musician)

  • Peter Hay (honorary research associate in environmental studies, University of Tasmania; author of A Companion to Environmental Thought)

  • Anthony Hirst and Vera Konidari (respectively publisher and biographer of Theodore Stephanides)

  • Joanna Hodgkin (novelist, biographer of her mother, Nancy Durrell: Amateurs in Eden: the story of a Bohemian marriage – Nancy and Lawrence Durrell)

  • Ravi Nambiar (India; author of Indian Metaphysics in Lawrence Durrell’s Novels)

  • Spyros Orfanos (Professor of Psychology, New York University; author of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy; native of Erikousa island, Corfu)

  • Richard Pine (Director, Durrell Library of Corfu and author of Lawrence Durrell: the Mindscape).

Talks by the featured speakers will be followed by open discussion.

We are delighted to announce that SIMON NYE, scriptwriter for both the 2005 screenplay of My Family and Other Animals and the current Durrells in Corfu  series will take part in “ISLANDS OF THE MIND”.

Places are limited. If you wish to participate in ISLANDS OF THE MIND,

please contact us at:


Meetings will be 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 will travel 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 special feature of “ISLANDS OF THE MIND” will be the launch of

Endpapers and Inklings: Uncollected Prose 1933-1987

(published for the Durrell Library of Corfu by Colenso Books)

which will present many unpublished writings by LAWRENCE DURRELL

including his novella (set in the Ionian islands), The Magnetic Island

with illustrations by Nancy Durrell and dedicated to Theodore Stephanides.


Thanks to generous private sponsorship we are able to offer admission to the symposium at the heavily discounted fee of 125 euros (US$150; £110) subject to final confirmation. This fee includes all advance information, documentation, a welcome reception and the transportation to, and buffet lunch at, the White House, Kalami.

Hotel accommodations and all other meals, entertainment and transportation are not included.

The Durrell Library will provide recommendations for city-centre hotel accommodation at rates negotiated by our agent.


We strongly advise would-be participants to reserve a place as early as possible, as seats are limited. If you intend to participate, please send an email to:

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).

Places are limited. If you wish to participate in ISLANDS OF THE MIND, please contact us at:

1L Durrell, Reflections on a Marine Venus.