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Thursday, 21 November 2019

Corfu Stories in "This Spinning World"; Dorset Stories.

I have just finished a telephone interview about my book, for an excellent local radio station (Abbey 104). Jenny Devitt (Local World) asked me why I had gone to the Corfu Literary Festival to launch the book and to talk about the writing of short stories.

I suppose it's because I really started writing seriously in Corfu - and because the organizers had been trying to get me to go to the Literary Festival for two years in a row. Five of the stories are set on Corfu, and there are several others set in other parts of Greece (Epirus, Zagori and Hydra).

My first book was called Corfu Blues,  a collection of poems and essays about Corfu, Greece and the Balkans. I also wrote The Ionian Islands and Epirus, A Cultural History, so I guess I was a natural for the Corfu Literary Festival.

In fact the 43 stories do come from far and wide: Greece, Czechoslovakia (as it was), Ethiopia, Kenya, Sweden, Austria, Australia, Germany, Bermuda, the EU, USA, Algeria, Albania, and the UK (London, Cheshire, Dorset, Scotland and Ireland).

Jenny also asked me why I had decided to call the collection "This Spinning World".

I explained that I had once written a poem/song called "It's a round spinning world", which was published in Acumen magazine and in my book "Corfu Blues".

From ACUMEN 15, April 1992

This is the demo song version, as arranged by Raul Scacchi, listen on YouTube.

Early versions of some of the Corfu stories (eg Exiles' Island), were written when I was 23 or 24, at around the time that I looked like this (and the island itself also looked very different, especially some of the olive groves):

I should also add that at least five of the stories are set in Dorset: The ghosts of Max Gate, Beside the seaside, A broken ankle, Maumbury Rings, The landscape painter.

A previous book launch, at Waterstones, Dorchester:

"This Spinning World" - a thoughtful Christmas present? 

Thank you Jenny, for a most enjoyable chat!

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