Meeting place for writers on isle of Andros

Amalia Melis, director of Aegean Arts Circle, told Kathimerini English Edition about her background and writing: «My parents are from Apikia, Andros – immigrants who lived in Astoria with one dream, to return to Andros (which they did). That notion was injected into my blood from a very young age. Every summer trip to Greece as a child filled me with incredibly strong memories, smells, images, family stories from the village – these experiences have shaped me into the hybrid person I am today, very Greek in some things and very American in others. I was born and raised in New York but my heart belongs to Greece, specifically to Andros. «My heart is happy here but it has not been easy for me as a writer who writes basically in English. Not being a person who gives up without a fight, I created Aegean Arts Circle writing workshops last summer. «I’d tried creating writers’ groups but nothing really panned out. I attended one writing workshop in Italy which knocked me out because Dorothy Allison was teaching it. It was the first time I exposed my writing to anyone. Because of her fiery commitment to strong literary writing and because of the helpful feedback I got from other writers, I rewrote, revised every word I brought to her and I published my first short story, ‘Immigrant Daughter,’ in the US Literary magazine Glimmer Train Stories – Spring 2002 issue. «Right now I am focusing on my novel. By creating Aegean Arts Circle, I have brought the writers to me since it is not easy for me to travel to workshops or conferences on writing. My daughter Anna is 8 and I am too attached to her to let go at the moment. I find it difficult to balance the mother/writer role. I would never be able to write or create Aegean Arts Circle if I did not have the safe harbor my husband Argyris provides. «I want Aegean Arts Circle to become a meeting ground for writers from all over the world, who will want to gather in Andros to write, exchange work, write new material and recharge their batteries on what I think is the greatest island in the Aegean, before they return to their other lives. «In this current writing workshop with Dorothy, I am a participant like the next writer.»