A glimpse of what makes authors tick

When six women writers shared their views at the Athens Concert Hall last year, they attracted a large, enthusiastic crowd, many of them young students. On Tuesday night, the organizers tried to repeat that success, this time with six male writers. Was it the weather that kept people away? Or was there some other reason the audience did not fill the auditorium, let alone overflow into others as on the previous occasion, and that few of them were from the younger generation? Those who did turn up got a glimpse of what makes each author tick. Introducing the six as virtuoso soloists, Diavazo editor Yiannis Baskozis invited them to talk about what makes them write, eliciting accounts that were remarkably close to the authorial voices in their work. Thanassis Valtinos was as «minimalist and Doric,» as Baskozis described him, in his words as in his writing, locating his inspiration in scenes he witnessed as a boy. Philippos Drakontaeidis fulminated against technology as antithetical to literature. Nikos Themelis expressed his interest in the diaspora Greeks and Enlightenment ideas that people the capacious novels he started writing at 50. Takis Theodoropoulos described himself as a reader rather than a writer, who would have been a painter if he’d had any talent. Menis Koumandareas admitted to eavesdropping to absorb the way people speak. And Costas Mourselas explained the pell-mell oral element in his work, saying that was how he writes, without a plan.