Lawrence Durrell and Corfu: A Centenary Appraisal

20–27 June 2012


As part of the international celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Lawrence Durrell (1912–1990), THE DURRELL SCHOOL OF CORFU will host a one-week seminar.

Dates:    Wednesday 20 – Tuesday 27 June 2012

Venue:   The Durrell School premises at 11 Filellinon Street, in the historic centre of Corfu Town.

Moderator:  Richard Pine, founder of the Durrell School (and now Director Emeritus), and author of Lawrence Durrell: The Mindscape.

There will be three parallel elements:

Lawrence Durrell in Corfu:

 A specific focus on the topic of 'Lawrence Durrell in Corfu': this will concentrate on the biographical details of Lawrence Durrell in the years 1935-39, including the recent DSC/ILDS-published Autumn Gleanings: Corfu Memoirs and Poems by Theodore Stephanides and the biography of Nancy Myers-Durrell-Hodgkin by her daughter Joanna Hodgkin-Hines, Amateurs in Eden (to be published by Virago in early 2012), as well as the established biographies by Ian MacNiven and Gordon Bowker, and Brewster Chamberlin's Chronology. The defining experience of Corfu in the life of Gerald Durrell will also be celebrated with particular reference to his portrayal of Lawrence in The Corfu Trilogy.

This topic will address the work achieved by Durrell in the years 1935-39, including the composition of two novels, Panic Spring and The Black Book, and his memoir, Prospero's Cell, which was compiled from notes assembled during the Corfu years. Additionally, the crucial evidence that Durrell mapped out his life's work as a novelist while living in Corfu will be assessed.

Included in this part of the seminar will be a study session at Kalami, where Durrell and his wife Nancy lived for most of their years in Corfu. Visits to one or more of the villas where Durrell and his wife lived occasionally with the rest of his family will be arranged if possible.

An assessment of Lawrence Durrell:

On a more general level, the seminar will also attempt an assessment of Lawrence Durrell as a writer under the headings: novels, poetry, drama, travel writing. One hundred years after his birth, and over twenty years after his death, what is the basis of his literary reputation? Is he likely to be remembered principally for The Alexandria Quartet, or are his other novels (particularly Tunc/Nunquam and The Avignon Quintet) also candidates for inclusion in his permanent canon?

 Lawrence Durrell and his Literary Contexts:

This element of the seminar will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss Durrell's work in the period 1935-65 in the context of other writers such as Olivia Manning, Kate O'Brien, Stratis Tsirkas, George Seferis, Anais Nin and Henry Miller.

Book launches

The programme will include launches of three books: James Nichol'’s The Stronger Sex: The Fictional Women of Lawrence Durrell (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2011), Joanna Hines's Amateurs in Eden (Virago, 2012), and Eve Patten's Imperial Refugee: Olivia Manning's Fictions of War (Cork University Press, 2012).

Day trip to Butrint

In addition to the excursions mentioned in (1) above, there will also be an optional daytrip to Butrint, Albania, a spectacular archaeological site in a beautiful setting, and one of the major archaeological sites of the Adriatic region.


  • The DSC welcomes proposals (maximum 500 words) for papers which will assess Lawrence Durrell's reputation either on a general basis or with reference to specific texts, or deal with other subjects that fall within the three areas outlined above. 
  • Presentations will occupy up to 30 minutes, with a further 30 minutes for discussion.
  • Facilities for Powerpoint are available.
  • A maximum of 20 papers will be accepted for presentation.
  • Proposals should be sent to the Academic Director of the Durrell School, Dr Anthony Hirst ([email protected]) with copies to Richard Pine ([email protected]), and the Durrell School ([email protected]) to reach us not later than Monday 16 January 2012. You should also send with your proposal a copy of the Application Form on the next page, completing Sections A and B (plus Section C if you are also applying for a Scholarship: see below).

PUBLICATION. It is intended that a selection of the papers will be published either in the Durrell School Proceedings or as an independent volume.

THOSE WISHING TO ATTEND WITHOUT PRESENTING A PAPER should complete Section A of the Application Form on the next page (plus Section C if you are also applying for a Scholarship: see below), and send it to Anthony Hirst ([email protected]) with a copy to the Durrell School ([email protected]). There is no deadline for such applications, unless you are also applying for a scholarship.

THE REGISTRATION FEE of 300 euros will include participation in all academic sessions, the welcome reception, transport to Kalami and lunch at The White House, other excursions on Corfu, and the farewell dinner opap casino. There will be an additional charge for the optional day-trip to Butrint. 

TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION. Unfortunately the Durrell School cannot be responsible for any costs associated with travel or accommodation (except in the cases of those eligible for Scholarships), but will support applications for funding to academic institutions or other bodies. The authors of accepted proposals will be asked to provide assurance that they have secured adequate funding to enable them to attend the seminar. 

You may write to the Durrell School ([email protected]) for advice on hotels or travel arrangements, or contact the Durrell School's collaborators Aperghi Travel and Tourism through their website ( Travel and accommodation advice on the Durrell School website ( will be updated soon. When booking a hotel, it is important to choose one inside - or within walking distance of - the historic centre of Corfu Town, as you will not necessarily find bus services operating at the times you need them, if you stay outside the town.

SCHOLARSHIPS. A limited number of scholarships is available, with priority given to students and the unwaged, and especially to students from the Balkan region or southern Europe more generally. At a minimum, scholarships will cover the registration fee, but may be extended to contribute towards travel and accommodation costs. To be considered for a Scholarship you should complete Sections A and C of the Application Form (plus Section B if you also want to offer a paper: see "Proposals" above), and send it to Anthony Hirst ([email protected]) with a copy to the Durrell School ([email protected]) to reach us no later than Monday 16 January 2012

Click here for the application form (in Word format - you will be asked to save or open on your computer)


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