Finding connections with his characters
This article is from 2007.
Panos Karnezis left a Sheffield engineering job for writing, looking for a new hobby. With a critically acclaimed short story collection and Whitbread-nominated novel, he has clearly surpassed the status of enthusiastic amateur. Poetic and arresting, his latest novel, The Birthday Party, about infamous tycoon Marco Timoleon, is a return to his native Greece. Timoleon is not the most pleasant character.
Nearing the end of his life, he throws a party for his daughter’s 25th birthday, with a doctor on hand to persuade her to abort her child.
‘I’m fascinated by archetypes, stereotypes and caricatures,’ insists Parnezis. ‘Maybe because coming from abroad, I have noticed the fixed ideas that people often have about foreign peoples and customs.
But you can’t make something out of nothing. In order to create my characters I try to find similarities – no matter how remote – between them and me.’ With Marco Timoleon, the connection is not only a shared geography. ‘We grew up in the same part of the world and he becomes a migrant and has a great passion; his is business, mine literature, but the essence, the way one follows one’s passion, is not dissimilar.’ (Katie Gould)
Recommended Reading: Little Infamies is a collection of short stories set in one anonymous Greek village
11 Aug (with Douglas Galbraith), 8.30pm, £8 (£6).