Everything I do revolves around writing and a passion for an island in the eastern Mediterranean. I've published four novels, a life-writing guide and co-written an award-winning film, based on my third book. I've been fortunate enough to receive the Young Booksellers International Book of the Year Award and the Aurora Mardiganian Medal. My books have been shortlisted for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the East Midlands Book Award. I teach fiction on the MA in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University where I'm currently writer in residence for Postcolonial Studies Centre. I hope there will be many more writing adventures ahead.
24 March 2020
After two decades of avoiding full time work to concentrate on writing, the perfect job materialised. A six-month writing residency for NTU’s Postcolonial Studies Centre. A role that involves everything I love doing. Writing, organising literature events, delivering workshops in the community and learning more about subjects that have always been of interest to me as a writer. Colonialism, ethnicity, diaspora, feminism, migration and exile. My novels are mostly set in Cyprus, an island with a colonial legacy tightly woven with my own family history.
Within a fortnight of taking on the post an event had been organised at Waterstones featuring the LA-based poet, Andre Naffis-Sahile. With planned readings by refugee women and a spread of foods from around the world. I imagined an audience welcomed by an ambient soundtrack, settling back with a glass of wine and a samosa. However, a week later the university shut, all events cancelled and we were sent home to self-isolate. I’ll have to gather my students online to keep us connected and I’m looking into ways to record lectures and workshops, interviewing a willing writer or two online and running a virtual event for my residency. This challenging time requires positivity and adaptability, a creative approach to the unprecedented.
ODYSSEY - FINDING YOUR WAY THROUGH WRITING
March 25th 2020
The beauty of a residency is that I also get time to develop my own work. I’ve just finished a novel but the jobbing writer always has their mind on the next project and I’d been planning mine for many months. When I say to my family ‘I’ll be finished in six weeks’ they know this means six months, if I’m lucky, or ‘in six weeks I’m starting something new.’ There’s rarely any down time. I don’t quite know what I’d do with myself if I didn’t write. So, the new project is a co-write with my colleague at NTU, Anthony Cropper, a follow on from our life writing guide, The Accidental Memoir published in 2018 by Harper Collins. We’ve spent years debating writing exercises, what works, what doesn’t, how best to teach technique. Books filled with writing exercises are readily available, but we wanted to take a different approach and address an area of technique many writers struggle with – including ourselves, namely, structure. Our ability to tell stories goes back to 40,000 BC when man made marks inside a cave and used symbols to represent dates and astronomical realities. We all tell stories, every day, in person, on social media. Some of us are better at it than others. Those who keep us engaged follow a basic structure, consciously or not. Effective storytelling, however simple it may seem, has a pattern. You may have a great story to tell, but you need to tell it in the right way to hold an audience. Cue our book: Odyssey. Finding Your Way Through Writing. It uses the hero’s journey, a common story-telling template, to help people understand how novels, films and plays can be researched and structured. The hero’s journey, coined by the academic, Joseph Campbell, in 1949, is a narrative model that involves a hero/character going on a journey, overcoming obstacles, learning lessons and returning home transformed. And we’ll be referencing the classic hero, Odysseus, whose story begins when he’s called to fight in the Trojan wars. He faces sea monsters, witches and the wrath of gods for twenty years before returning home a changed man. But a story doesn’t have to be full of physical danger, like the Odyssey, to be compelling. Stories can be slow moving, change internal. We hope our book will act as a guide on structuring works, tackling beginnings, ends and sagging middles while acting as a resource to help people understand their own experiences, those everyday struggles that take us to dark places and change us in some fundamental way. The hero’s journey can be found in everyone’s personal narrative.
Odyssey – Finding Your Way Through Writing is supported by Arts Council England
'Reading The Spice Box Letters is like sitting down to a delicious Armenian dinner hosted by an ebullient family with a riveting and sorrowful tale to tell. Makis' story goes to some dark places, but her warmth and light touch keeps this engaging novel aloft. You will come away impressed by the resilience of her wonderful characters -- and craving Armenian delicacies. (I devoured a chunk of halva while reading this book.) I deeply enjoyed this novel'
'Romance, comedy and tragedy: compelling!'
'Makis translates the darker side of domestic life into engaging, vibrant prose.'
'Eve Makis's poetic ahd humane vision of life turns tragedy into comedy.'
'People can reflect emotion on to a passive page where they can't tell you...For human well being, I hope this very very useful book gets put online...its the community helping itself...it's like a therapeutic interview.'
Sally Leivesley on The Accidental Memoir (BBC World Service)
'The best gift you might give.'
'An inspirational guide to writing your life story.'