Panos Karnezis

This article is from 2007.

Panos Karnezis

Finding connections with his characters

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).

Douglas Galbraith and Panos Karnezis

Panos Karnezis' 'The Birthday Party' returns to his native Greece as it chronicles a father's rise to wealth and power. Douglas Galbraith uncovers the fascinating tale of billionaire Henry Ford's doomed First World War peace mission to Europe. 'Part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2007'.

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