Irish author, critic and columnist, Richard Pine has written critical works on Irish playwright Brian Friel and Anglo-Irish novelist Lawrence Durrell
. He worked for the Irish national broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann
(RTÉ) before moving to Greece in 2001 to found the Durrell School of Corfu
, which he directed until 2010.
Dedicated to improving the understanding of the work of Lawrence Durrell and his brother Gerald
, the school has hosted seminars on literature and the protection of the environment until 2014. Since 2009 Pine has also been writing a column on Greek affairs for The Irish Times
titled "Greek Letter", and last month he published his latest book, "Greece through Irish Eyes
Pine, who has lived in Corfu for the past 15 years, has developed a deep and moving relationship with Greece, which is evident in the way he describes his experiences, observations and aspirations for the country. "Loving the strengths of Modern Greece and mourning its weaknesses goes together" he told journalists at his book presentation
in Athens on October 22.
Asked why he wrote his book, he cited the vast similarities of a psychic kind between Greece and Ireland. "Greece is Ireland and Ireland is Greece" Pine has argued before. "The two countries could not be more similar. Each on the rim of a fragile Europe and an even more fragile eurozone, each proud of its independence from the age-old dominant neighbour, proud of its historic contribution to European culture."
In his book, Pine sets about separating the hard grains of truth from the lazy myths about Greece, resulting in an illuminating, perceptive account. Covering a wide range of topics, from history and politics to food and literature, he strives to lead readers
away from clichés towards an understanding of the "very severe – and possibly fatal – condition of Greece, its economy, its administrative system, its geopolitical position, its people, in terms which go beyond the daily grind of austerity and its causes, and provide a portrait of ‘Greece entire’.
Opening the event, Ireland’s Ambassador to Greece, Noel Kilkenny, said that the people reading Pine’s column had "learned so much about Greece" over the past six years.