Creative Writing personal statement

Writing gives me the freedom to create a world where I set the rules, where the characters act the way I want them to, a world where everything is exactly how I want it to be and I know that I am the one who controls everything. Given the fact that I live in a country where consistency is a bad joke and no one can tell what the next day will bring, this feeling of absolute control brings a sense of balance in my life and motivates me to persevere.

As a writer, I focus solely on prose; I began writing in Greek at a young age, taking part in a variety of competitions and I received a commendation from Kathimerini newspaper at the age of thirteen in their 2002 contest for young writers. I switched to English when I was accepted at the English language and literature programme of the Kapodistrian University of Athens. I find that writing in a foreign language, namely English, gives me a sense of freedom my mother tongue never did. Though I once aspired to become a film director, viewing writing as a hobby, I came to realise that words and not images were meant to be the medium I would use to introduce what’s inside me to the world. I’ve been writing seriously for the past couple of years and I’m now working on the second draft of my novel, while a story of mine was recently featured in Litro magazine.

I’m quite taken with books that centre on the complexities of family relations and dynamics, the juxtaposition of the characters standing alone and the way they function within the family web. Eugenides’s Middlesex is my favourite book and a great source of inspiration for my work, as I, too, focus on family sagas, with themes like gender, power struggles, revenge and the relations within different households concerning me most. However, I usually employ a much different setting: I’ve been told I have a talent for “world weaving” and a wild imagination to boot, with the majority of my stories dedicated to the multiverse theory, looking up to the works of great English authors Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman.

My mother is a professor of Ancient Greek, so I was raised with the great Greek tragedies, making it my mission to read them all; I think it’s only natural that I developed an interest in the theme of the tragic hero and the quadriptych of ates – hubris – tisis – nemesis. I particularly enjoy the first act because I believe it mirrors our every day lives: arrogance, youth and foolishness blinds the protagonist who overreaches, showing total disregard for all limits. His actions are his undoing, seen in ancient Greek mythology in the form of divine retribution, until he bitterly regrets his hubris, completing the tragic cycle with the loss of something he held dear. The timeless and brilliant plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides combined with the Greek mythology have taught me much and I believe them to be some of the most complex and compelling stories ever told.

It intrigues me how much power the first person narrative has over the reader, no matter what the character’s qualities are. Books like Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Burgess’s Clockwork Orange and Ellis’s American Psycho introduce characters that range from unlikable to plain psychopathic and they are the reason I find this point of view fascinating, employing it in the majority of my work, as they have helped me realize you don’t have to like a character to love him.

Since 2011 I’ve been teaching Greek and English literature during the summer months as part of a voluntary work programme; I’ve travelled extensively and I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent quite some time outside the Greek borders. I believe that teaching as well as my work as a translator, an occupation I thoroughly enjoy, has enriched my vocabulary and deepened my knowledge of the English language. I look forward to the challenge this degree will pose for me; I’m sure this course will be a deeply fulfilling experience, as I wish to develop my skills as a writer and build confidence in my abilities through sharing my work with others. I know this University will offer me the chance to explore possibilities I would never be able to unless I was accepted in this programme.

Profile info

This personal statement was written by Odile for application in 2014.

Odile's university choices
The University of Kent
University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

Green: offer made
Red: no offer made

Degree
MA Creative Writing at University of Southampton

Odile's Comments

Everything i write is in English now so i felt i needed to stress the fact that i am Greek . I hope i succeeded, more or less.

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