full name / name of organization: 
James Gifford
contact email: 


1-6 June 2008


The Durrell School of Corfu will host an international seminar and writers'
feedback forum on "Travel Writing, Spirit of Place and Discovery of Self"
at its Library and Study Centre, 1-6 June, 2008, in the company of
distinguished guest-author Jan Morris, OBE, and Dr. Mark Morris.


The Durrell School of Corfu is proud to offer a unique opportunity to
participants to combine an exciting seminar on the art of Travel Writing
with the chance to present critical papers (or samples of their own
writing) and share ideas on all aspects of travel writing; to seek new
inspiration and engaged feedback in an intimate and supportive environment;
and to produce and discuss work (poetry or prose), some likely to be
inspired by Greece or Corfu. Participants are not obliged to work both
creatively and as critics, but the seminar will foster opportunities for
dialogue between both.

Participants are invited (optionally) to submit a short piece of
travel-inspired writing produced about Corfu during the week. After the
close of the seminar, members of the International Board of the Durrell
School will consider all the entries and award a Durrell School of Corfu
Certificate of Merit to the best piece of travel writing about Corfu.

Different types of fine travel writing will be discussed: fiction,
non-fiction, essays and articles, poetry, and travel journalism. The
seminar sessions will generally take place each morning from 9.00- 12.00
am, and the creative writers' presentations and feedback sessions from
6.00-8.00 pm. The rest of the day will be free for participating writers
and speakers to explore the town and to find inspiration in the aspects
that most interest them.
There will also be a caique trip to Kalami and to the Shrine of Saint
Arsenius, which Lawrence Durrell described as his second birthplace or
place of predilection.


Greece, Corfu, and the other Ionian Islands have always been favourite
destinations and subjects for travel writers and 'writers of foreign
residence,' as well as for novelists and poets interested in the 'Deus
Loci' and 'spirit of place.' Lawrence and Gerald Durrell are the most
famous travel writers associated with Corfu, but the island has a long
history and continues to inspire writers of all types. Corfu's Old Town has
recently been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List, and Corfu's praises
have been sung by Homer (Scheria is traditionally identified with Corfu),
by Walter Waller Wright, Edward Lear, James Chatto, Mary Stewart, Emma
Tennant, and many others. The Ionian Islands more generally have provided
the 'landscape of the imagination' and settings for books by writers like
Louis de Bernieres...

As a location, Corfu also illustrates the debates associated with travel
writing: colonial histories, cultural diversity, exoticism, increasing
tourism, and the myth of 'authenticity.' The literary, the historical, and
the personal are brought into creative interaction. Moreover, both visitors
and authors alike confront a literary history and a cultural history
capable of mutual influence, conflict, and plurality. As described by
Lawrence Durrell, 'Everywhere the trembling atmosphere deceives.'

In her 'Foreword to Places,' Jan Morris provocatively suggests

"Now that nearly everyone who reads has been to nearly everywhere there is
to read about, the travel writer finds his occupation's gone, and turns to
other literary forms -- transmuting his experiences into fiction, perhaps,
or perhaps like me projecting his view of today into an evocation of
yesterday... My approach was one of guileless irresponsibility."

>From this provocation, the June seminar of the Durrell School of Corfu
takes its inspiration to discuss the responsibility, irresponsibility, and
changing status of the travel writer. Critical and artistic engagements
with this topic are encouraged to overlap in a supportive and productive

Lawrence Durrell offers a similarly introspective and personal approach to
the travel writer's task in his Prospero's Cell, questioning the
relationship between the writer and his or her subject, and this will also
prompt our inquiry:

"Other countries may offer you discoveries in manners or lore or landscape;
Greece offers you something harder -- the discovery of yourself."

Potential topics might include (but are not limited to):

 * Travel Writing and 'Foreign Residence' Writing: the achievement of
Lawrence Durrell.
 * The work of Jan Morris: a discussion of the nature of her writing and of
travel writing
 * Expatriate Travel Writing and the Postcolonial Perspective
 * Travel and 'the discovery of self': the unspoiled and the myth of the
 * The travel writing of such authors as Bruce Chatwin, Paul Theroux, Bill
Bryson, Freya Stark, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Henry Miller, Nikos Kazantzakis,
Jack Kerouac, Nicholas Shakespeare, V.S. Naipaul, D.H. Lawrence, Eric
Newby, Evelyn Waugh, Karen Blixen, Lord Byron, Norman Douglas, and so forth.
 * Transformations of the travel writing genre: aesthetics and politics

    Or, in creative pursuits

 * Writing landscape
 * Guide Books and Travellers' Companions: writing responsibly for the
serious reader
 * Travel Journalism, good and bad; ethical issues in travel journalism
 * The writer as painter
 * Travel writing as meditation or introspection
 * Travel writing: Fiction or Non-Fiction?
 * 'Fine writing' and purple prose
 * Key concepts: 'Deus Loci,' 'Islomania,' 'Nomadism.'
 * Bouncing Czechs, Whingeing Poms, Turkish Delights and Greeks Bearing
Gifts: avoiding the cliche
 * 'A Year in...' 'How we built our home in...' genres


Jan Morris, CBE, world-renowned writer, journalist, historian, essayist,
travel-writer and novelist, is the author of over forty books, many of them
classics, including Venice, Oxford, The Pax Britannica Trilogy, The
Venetian Empire, Journeys, Hong Kong, Sydney, Trieste and the Meaning of
Nowhere, and Conundrum. Jan will join us for 4 days and will talk
informally about her work and the nature of travel writing.

Dr. Mark Morris is the Visiting Scholar-in-Residence at the Faculty of Arts
at the University of Alberta, Canada, and is a writer, photographer,
award-winning librettist, and broadcaster. He teaches creative non-fiction,
including travel writing, concentrating on helping young writers emerge. He
has written widely for magazines and newspapers in many genres, and his
operas have been performed in eight countries and in four languages. His
first book, Domesday Revisited, was an historical travel book, and his
second, the Pimlico Dictionary of 20th-Centry Composers, a huge survey of
20th-Century classical music. His current projects include spending 2008
photographing the world of the university during the 100th anniversary year
of the University of Alberta.
    Mark (coincidentally the son of Jan Morris) has a particular interest
in facilitating the Durrell School writers' forums. He is experienced in
aiding, in a group context, writers who want to read and discuss their
work, but who don't necessarily want their work 'discussed.' Mark has done
this at university level, ran similar forums at the Banff Centre for the
Arts, and in the Writing Group he has run for over a decade. A supportive
environment is top of his priorities.


Creative or Critical Proposals (2 pages maximum), together with the
author's CV, should reach the Durrell School by 15 February 2008 Presentations will be limited to 30 minutes each, with
another 30 minutes allocated for discussion by participants including
resident faculty and the moderators. Creative works will be developed
during the full seminar.


Full texts of accepted presentations or creative works must be received by
the DSC by 15 May 2008 in electronic form. This is to facilitate
circulation of the papers to all participants in advance. The papers should
not be read at the seminar, but spoken to, since they will have been read
by participants before the seminar opens. In other words, participants
should discuss their papers in order to engage and begin interacting with
an audience already familiar with the written copy. A selection of papers
will be published as part of the DSC's Proceedings.

For workshop participants, creative materials will be discussed and
developed during the seminar.


The registration fee for the seminar will be 300 euros for participants (to
include costs of field classes) and 350 euros for those who wish to take
part in the discussions but who do not wish to present papers. The authors
of accepted proposals will be asked to give the DSC an assurance that they
have secured adequate funding to enable them to take up the places offered
to them. The DSC cannot be responsible for any costs associated with travel
or accommodation. Intending participants should consult the DSC website for
details of accommodation available in Corfu.

A limited number of scholarships is available: in the first instance,
contact the Administrative Director at:

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Sun Jan 06 2008 - 23:23:08 EST