Talking Ethnographic Fiction with Alexandros Plasatis


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What does ethnography look like when presented as fiction? In this episode, we talk with Alexandros Plasatis, author of the new book Made by Sea and Wood, in Darkness (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021) a linked book of short stories based on the lives of Egyptian immigrant fishermen and other marginalized residents of a Greek town. Alexandros describes the fieldwork he conducted as a waiter in his family’s all-night café with a diverse clientele before explaining how and why he transitioned from studying anthropology to creative writing. He tells us how his fieldwork provided the basis for his novel, drawing on his conversations and experiences with the café’s clients to write semi-fictional stories that ring true. Finally, he describes how he uses writing to work with immigrant communities in England, including “the other side of hope”, a new print and online literary magazine dedicated to the stories of immigrants and refugees.

Read an excerpt from Alexandros’ book here.

Alex Diamond is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Texas, Austin. Sneha Annavarapu is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago. Dr. Sneha Annavarapu is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago.

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