PERSONAL: Born in London, England; married Vassilis Papadimitriou (a political advisor); children: Lara, Anna. Education: Studied social anthropology at Cambridge University.
ADDRESSES: Home—Athens, Greece. Agent—Caroline Dawnay, PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.
CAREER: Has worked as a journalist and book reviewer for periodicals in England; has also worked as an anthropologist.
The History of Emigration from Greece, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1997.
Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens, Granta Books (London, England), 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A book about the author's grandmother, a former Russian princess who later joined the Communist Party.
SIDELIGHTS: When Sofka Zinovieff first came to Greece, she did so as a British anthropologist researching the unique culture there. She had not counted on falling in love with Greece, however, nor on marrying the Greek diplomat whom she met while in Russia in a related study of the Pontian Greeks of the Black Sea. She and her husband lived in Moscow, London, and Rome, where Zinovieff worked as a journalist, before settling in Athens to raise their two daughters. Her scholarly children's book The History of Emigration from Greece was followed by a much more personal look at her adopted homeland, Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens.
Eurydice Street, according to Spectator reviewer Francis King, "is both an account of her enthusiastic, if often balked, attempts to transform herself into a Greek, and a vivid evocation of a city in a chaotic ferment of change." Zinovieff writes on all sorts of topics, from politics to architecture, business to personal encounters with the country's people. "She writes," as Peter Stothard reported in a Times Literary Supplement assessment, "of how Athenians like herself live, of personal friendships, political frustrations and the problem of being or becoming a Greek." King appreciated much of what the author had to say, though he disagreed with her political views, such as her support of prime minister Andreas Papandreou. Nevertheless, King called Eurydice Street a "lively and often trenchant blend of personal recollection and a . . . thoroughly engaging memoir." And Stothard concluded that "this is not a judgemental book. It is generous, appreciative as well as exasperated, optimistic in that tradition which has always so motivated British philhellenes over the century." Reviewing the book for Vogue, Cressida Connolly characterized it as "subtle, penetrating and written with disarming clarity."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Daily Telegraph, May 8, 2004, Sarah Wheeler, review of Eurydice Street.
Economist, May 27, 2004, review of Eurydice Street.
Spectator, May 22, 2004, Francis King, review of Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens, p. 45.
Times Literary Supplement, May 9, 2004, Peter Stothard, review of Eurydice Street.
Vogue, Cressida Connolly, review of Eurydice Street.
Greece Magazine Online, http://www.merricksmedia.co.uk/pages/magazines/greece-magazine/ (December 20, 2004), "Celebrity Greek: A Place in Athens."