Corfu Writers and Artists

Corfu writers and artists inspired by the island include both residents and visitors, like Gerald and Lawrence Durrell, Edward Lear, and Henry Miller.

'It's always good to find a reason for visiting Corfu Town,' says the British author Emma Tennant in her 2004 book Corfu Banquet. Subtitled ‘A Memoir with Seasonal Recipes’, this is one of two books she has written about the island.

Emma Tennant

Tennant, who was better known in Britain as the author of such novels as The Bad Sister and Wild Nights, has also written the non-fiction A House in Corfu (2001). This tells the story of her parents seeing a house in Corfu in the 1960s, a place called Rovinia, and falling in love with it and moving in. Emma Tennant shared their love of the island, showing the inspiration that Corfu has given to writers and artists over the centuries.

Lawrence and Gerald Durrell

The most famous of all of these, partly because there were two of them, were the brothers Gerald and Lawrence Durrell. Lawrence was the elder brother and appears as the butt of many jokes in Gerald's account of his 1930s boyhood on Corfu, My Family and Other Animals

It was on Corfu that Gerald Durrell’s great love of natural history blossomed, resulting in him pursuing a career as both a naturalist and a writer, and becoming the founder of the Jersey Wildlife Conservation Trust. It’s no exaggeration to say that there are species of birds and animals surviving today which would not have made it if not for Durrell's pioneering work, spurred on by his curiosity about, and love of, the wildlife on Corfu.

Lawrence Durrell was always the more intellectual of the two brothers and went on to great success as a novelist, poet, essayist, critic, and travel writer. He lived for a time at the White House in Kalámi, which is still there today and is where he wrote Prospero's Cell. This was his own account of life on Corfu - very different from his younger brother's! - as well as working on his novels and poems. 

Henry Miller

A friend of Lawrence Durrell's was the American writer, Henry Miller, renowned as the author of such controversial books as Tropic of Cancer. He visited Durrell on Corfu, and part of this account appears in his wonderful travel memoir The Colossus of Maroussi. Many readers think that, despite the renown of his infamous novels, this is his best book, fired as he was by his love of the passionate Greek people. 

Edward Lear

The English artist and writer Edward Lear was yet another whose work was coloured by his reactions to Corfu. Well-known to generations of British children, and adults, as the author of nonsense poems such as ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’, Lear also wrote several travel books and visited Corfu on many occasions. His restful landscapes are in complete contrast to his bizarre and funny verse, and some of his Corfu paintings can be seen in Corfu Town's Municipal Art Gallery, contained within the Palace of St Michael and St George.

Icon Painters

It is not only foreign visitors, of course, who have been inspired by Corfu – by its beauty, its myths, its history. A great many Greek icon painters have lived and worked on Corfu, including many from the famous Cretan School, often on their way to Venice.

There was sufficient of a local movement to encourage the formation of an Ionian School of Painting too, probably by Panayiótis Doxáras. Doxáras was born on the Greek mainland but worked in several of the Ionian Islands, including Corfu, where he painted the roof of the church of St Spyridon in Corfu Town.

Pávlos Prosaléntis

Corfu has produced great sculptors too, notably Pávlos Prosaléntis, who was born on Corfu in 1784 and is considered one of the greatest of Greek sculptors. A room devoted to his work, including some paintings, can be found in the Palaiópolis Museum in Mon Repos.

Corfu Writers and Artists

From Homer, who used Corfu as the inspiration for the mythical island of Scheria in The Odyssey, and Shakespeare, whose island setting of The Tempest has also been linked to Corfu, through to modern writers and artists, this beautiful Ionian island inspires more than just the holidaymakers who flock here.

Where to Stay on Corfu

Other Corfu pages

  • Corfu

    Corfu or Kerkyra is the main island in the Greek Ionian islands with Corfu Town being one of the most attractive of Greek island capitals.

  • A Lawrence Durrell Walk

    This Lawrence Durrell walk takes you from Kaminaki Beach in northern Corfu to the White House in Kalami where the writer Lawrence Durrell lived for four year.

  • Northern Corfu

    Northern Corfu is the most diverse part of the island, with Corfu's highest point, Mt Pantokrator, and beach resorts like Sidari and Palaiokastritsa.

  • Kalámi

    Kalami in north-west Corfu is a hidden gem which many people know about because writer Lawrence Durrell once lived here in The White House.

  • Best Things to Do on Corfu

    The best things to do on Corfu include visiting Palaiokastritsa, a day trip to Albania, seeing the Achilleion Palace, and the museums in Corfu Town.

  • Mount Pantokrátor

    Mount Pantokrator is the highest mountain on Corfu and it’s easy to drive to the top for spectacular views of Albania, Corfu, and even sometimes to Italy.

  • Mount Pantokrator Drive

    This Mount Pantokrator drive takes you to the top of Corfu’s highest mountain with wonderful views to Albania, mainland Greece, and around Corfu.

  • Drive to Palaiokastrítsa

    This drive to Palaiokastritsa starts at Corfu airport and takes you across the Ropa Plan and through hill villages before returning to Corfu Town.

  • Where to Eat in North-West Corfu

    Greece Travel Secrets has its list of favourite places where you can eat in north-west Corfu, including in Paleokastritsa, Pelekas, and Ayios Stefanos.

  • Corfu Town

    Corfu Town is the capital of Corfu and of the Ionian Islands and has museums, two forts, several museums, churches, and many other attractions.

  • Northern Corfu Drive

    There are two sides to every Greek island, the tourist and the traditional, and this drive from Corfu Town through northern Corfu shows the two faces of Corfu.

  • Corfu Festivals and Events

    Information for travellers to Greece on Corfu festivals and events including Easter, the Feast of St Spiridhon, Carnival and Name Days.

  • Two Corfu Saints

    The main two Corfu saints are Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu who saved the island four times from disaster, and Saint Theodora Augusta.

  • Southern Corfu

    Southern Corfu has busy beach resorts like Benitses, historical buildings like the Achilleion Palace and Gardiki Castle, and wildlife at the Korision Lagoon.

  • The Achilleion Palace

    The Achilleion Palace is one of the most visited sights on Corfu and contains a museum and impressive gardens with wonderful views over the coast.

  • Corfu Offshore Islands

    There are three islands off the northwest coast of Corfu, Erikouusa, Othoni and Mathraki, popular with day-trippers from resorts like Sidari.

  • Corfu Food and Drink

    Information for travelers on Corfu Food and Drink including restaurants and tavernas, Corfiot specialties, desserts, wine and other Greek drinks like ouzo.

  • Corfu Climate: Sun, Rain, Winds

    The Corfu Climate page describes the hours of sun, the rain, the winds, to help you plan the best time to visit this Ionian island.

  • Corfu Beer Festival

    The First Corfu Beer Festival took place in Arillas in North West Corfu and celebrated the beer of Bavaria and of Corfu, in the Ionian islands of Greece.

  • Corfu and Cricket

    The history of Corfu and cricket goes back to 1823 when the island was under British rule, which left them with a legacy of loving both cricket and ginger beer.

  • Corfu’s Marine Life

    Corfu’s marine life includes dolphins, loggerhead turtles, and rare Mediterranean monk seals.

  • Corfu Wildlife

    Corfu’s wildlife includes rare and colourful birds, snakes, lizards, fireflies, and insects, with plenty of places to watch the wildlife like lakes and lagoons.

  • Corfu’s Special Cuisine

    Corfu’s special cuisine includes dishes like sofrito and pastitsade and the chance to try ginger beer and kumquats.

  • The Corfu Trail

    The Corfu Trail runs from the southernmost point of Corfu at Cape Asprokavos and winds for 220km (137 miles) to the northernmost point near Andinioti Lagoon.

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