Kevin Peter of Moterwriter.com caught up with author Nicholas Fourikis and got him to talk a little about his book Hypatia’s Feud. This is what transpired in the tête-à-tête with the author.
Kevin Peter: What’s a typical day in the life of Nicholas Fourikis like?
Nicholas Fourikis: Research associated with my next book titled “Escape from Plato’s cave” has high priority. I then write and review what I have written several times. I read philosophical works that help me erect a sound plot for the book. And the reading of poetry helps me write evocative descriptive passages of my book.
KP: Tell us a little about your background?
NF: As a Greek living in cosmopolitan Cairo I had to learn modern /ancient Greek, French and English. The transition from a Modern Greek Citizen to a Citizen of the World was therefore almost seamless. I then studied translations of Russian, Italian and German literature.
KP: How did you become a writer and have you always wanted to write?
NF: My teachers at school and my lecturers at university made me aware that I could write on science and literary topics with the greatest of ease. At the post graduate level I have authored / co- authored about a hundred research papers on radio-astronomy topics. I now write blogs and literary books.
KP: How would you describe your writing process?
NF: I use a heuristic approach to writing. I write one episode and follow it with many more before I synthesise what I have written.
KP: Who are the writers that have inspired you?
NF: Thucydides still remains one of my favourite writers. Although he was an exceptional historian, his accounts allow his readers to participate in the debates that took place in several city-states on a variety of issues that are still important. Other writers who influenced me were: Heraclitus, F. Nietzsche, Voltaire, B. Russell, L.Tolstoy, H. Bergson, N. Kazantzakis and C. P. Cavafy.
KP: What do you think is the best way to influence others, through your actions and your deeds or through your words?
NF: Bertrand Russell spent a lot of time establishing himself as a historian of philosophy and logician, but found time to demonstrate in the streets of England against nuclear wars. I could not agree more with Russell’s approach.
KP: What’s ‘Hypatia’s Feud’ all about?
NF: Hypatia was a woman of exceptional courage. Her knowledge base allowed her to explore Science / Arts topics. She did not discriminate pupils – everyone had the right to knowledge.
KP: What attracted or inspired you to tell Hypatia’s story?
NF: Hypatia’s courage because she excelled in a world dominated by men. She like many ancient Greek thinkers did not acknowledge any dichotomy between the Sciences and the Arts. And finally she was a fellow astronomer.
KP: Poets and playwrights have appropriated their own versions of Hypatia’s story. How is your version different from theirs?
NF: I based my book on the work of Socrates Scholasticus, a 5th-century Christian church historian who wrote the Historia – Ecclesiastica (“Church History”, Ἐκκλησιαστική Ἱστορία) which covers the history of late ancient Christianity during the years 305–439. Recalling that Hypatia was murdered in 415 A D, Socrates was best placed to write the martyrdom of Hypatia. Other authors used other sources close to the Church and removed in time from Hypatia.
KP: How much of research was involved to get the historical facts and cultural intricacies of the era right?
NF: It took me three years to research and write “Hypatia’s Feud”
KP: What’s the relevance of Hypatia in today’s times?
NF: In troubled times we can always draw the strength to continue our struggle for a better world by re-visiting Hypatia’s life. She was after all the quintessential philosopher-hero who lived and died as a humanist in a world possessed by religious fervor.
KP: What are you expecting readers to take away from this book?
NF: (i) Women can excel in the Arts and the Sciences. (ii) Courage of one’s convictions is a prerequisite for success; and (iii) the acquisition of new knowledge is a never ending story.
KP: Reading anything at the moment?
NF: Yes! The “Vita Brevis” by JosteinGaarder.
KP: And lastly, thank you for parting with your valuable time Nicholas Fourikis and all the very best for your book.
NF: It was a pleasure liaising with you.
Connect with him at –http://www.nicholasfourikis.com/