ISLANDS OF THE MIND: Festival June 2019

The Durrell Library of Corfu announces


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 festival is a celebration of islands and their literature, and will examine 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”1

  • the study of islands as a microcosm of biodiversity

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

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) and an Irish dimension in relation to writings and celebrations of the islands of Ireland.


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)

  • Simon Nye, scriptwriter of The Durrells of Corfu television series
  • 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

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 festival 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.

DRAFT PROGRAMME (subject to change)


7pm Welcome reception


09.30-10.00 Opening address by Richard Pine

10-11.30 Godfrey BALDACCHINO – the Psychology of Islands

Respondent: Spyros ORFANOS (Erikousa/NYU)

coffee break

12-1.30pm Lee DURRELL – Islands as a study of biodiversity

Respondent Peter HAY (University of Tasmania)

7-8pm Poetry and artwork by Demosthenes DAVVETAS (Corfu/Sorbonne)


10-11.30 Richard PINE – “The Heraldic Universe: the Magnetic Island and self-discovery”

Respondent: Ciaran BENSON (emeritus University College Dublin)

coffee break

12-1.00pm Ravi NAMBIAR – The Indian element in Lawrence Durrell’s philosophy

1pm-2pm Another presentation tba

7-8.30pm 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]


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

Talk by Joanna HODGKIN at Kalami

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

Return to Corfu


10-11.30 Vera KONIDARIS and Anthony HIRST – presentation on Theodore Stephanides

coffee break

12-1.30pm Round-table – Lawrence Durrell’s “Island” books:

David Green, Bruce Redwine, David Roessel

7-8.30pm Screening of “The Garden of the Gods” (Gerald Durrell)

and a new ITV documentary on The Durrells in Corfu (to be screened in UK April 2019)


10-11am Presentation on Spyros Plaskovitis by Vassilis LETSIOS (Ionian University) with the participation of Dimitri Konidaris and Perikles Pankratis

coffee break

11.30-1pm Rony ALFANDARY – Reading Lawrence Durrell’s Psyche

Respondent: Dominic GREEN (Boston)

1pm-2pm Round-table final discussion with Brewster CHAMBERLIN (author of A Lawrence Durrell Chronology) and other speakers

Evening: Farewell dinner