My Life as a writer
When did you first realise you wanted to write for a living?
‘To write for a living’ has not been a priority but I felt the necessity to write since adolescence.
Early on I made a decision to not rely on writing for a living (though I have surely earned money from it) so as not to be dependent on market forces. I believed and still do that exploring other means of survival gave me the freedom to write what felt significant for me rather than the buyer.
Which writer, past or present, do you most admire?
Susan Sontag, Howard Barker, Jean Genet, Simone de Beauvoir, Caryl Churchill, Margarita Karapanou, Loula Anagnostaki, Borges, Audre Lorde, Edward Said, Foucault, W. Reich, Helene Cixous, Deborah Levy, Debbie Tucker Green, Ali Smith, Ziranna Zateli, Clarice Lispector.
What was your first published (or performed) credit as a writer?
It was two poems in the queer magazine Square Peg in the late 1980s and I was thrilled.
Which piece of writing work are you most proud of?
Who or what inspires you to write?
Ideas and feelings which torment me with their chaos.
Situations that make me very curious.
People I don’t understand.
Stillness and music.
The urge to express whatever it is that is burning me at the time
and the desire to communicate that to others.
Unresolved childhood traumas:))
A sense of injustice from what I see around me which translates into the ‘need to do something’.
Lovers inspire me to write, especially problematic ones…
How do you switch off when you’re not writing?
I love watching films, listening to music, talking with friends, relaxing at cafe-bars, walking, drawing.
Which one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Not so much advice but encouragement:
Write write write! And don’t give up as long as something inside you is burning to be expressed.
Try and develop a sense of your own worth and don’t depend on the opinion of others.
Be persistent and be bold.
Why are you a member of WGGB?
Because I like to belong and to have my rights protected.
Because I believe in collective strength.
Because the WGGB offers valuable support and information.
Nina Rapi’s plays include: Angelstate, Wild Beats, Kiss the Shadow, Reasons to Hide, Edgewise, Lovers, Josie’s Restrooms, Ithaka, which have been produced/presented in venues such as: the National Theatre of Greece, Theatro Technis, K.E.T., Aggelon Vima, and Theatro Embros (Athens, Greece); Riverside Studios, Soho Studio Theatre, Lyric Studio Theatre, Royal Festival Hall (London Literature Festival); Tristan Bates Theatre, ICA, Gielgud Theatre, West End Shorts Season (London, UK); Estaca Zero Teatro (Porto, Portugal); and Bits Festival (Pirani, India).
She is the recipient of: two Arts Council writing awards, a group award (Seven Plays by Women, Raymond Williams Award), a Best Play Award (Ithaka, BITS Festival, India), High Recommendation (Lovers, Future Perfect competition). She also wrote the libretto for the opera Raven, staged at Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens.
Analysis of her work and her own essays have been published by Cambridge University Press, Routledge, Harwood, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Mimesis Edizioni, amongst others. She is the Founding Editor of BRAND Literary Magazine. She has taught creative writing at the universities of London and Greenwich for many years.
Her short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals. Her latest collection State of Fugue was published by Kedros in Athens.
For more information visit her website.
Above photo by Christos Kyriazidis