Featured Interview With Sam Astrophel
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I grew up and still live in Athens, Greece, with my partner and our fluffy babies. I studied Philosophy and History of Science, and am currently doing my masters in Human Rights and Education while at the same time having anxiety, many feelings, and an inconvenient impostor’s syndrome. I adore poetry – especially Richard Siken and Azra Tabassum – rainy weather, fanfiction and songs with banjoes that remind you of fall. I am passionate about intersectional feminism, LGBTQI, immigrant and refugee rights.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I’ve been reading ever since I remember myself. I used to visit other kids’ homes and be that asshole that ignored them while hiding with their books under the stairs, because “Mama, we don’t have this at home!” I started writing right when I figured out the alphabet, at age 4. I remember my intense fixation with books starting with Harry Potter though, at six. I remember when I finished the Chamber of Secrets that summer, I threw a party with my family where I made them all have stick-and-poke Harry Potter tattooes to celebrate, gave away “free Harry Potter bookmarks” and made peach sorbet with my gran’s help.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I adore reading poetry and novels written in verse. The stormier the better. This is why I love Azra Tabassum, Richard Siken, Andrea Gibson and Charly Cox and I think their work has been my main inspiration in my writings. When it comes to the classics, I adore John Keats, Thomas Hardy, Christina Rossetti and Victor Hugo’s poems. I love reading many genres, but I have a preference in characters from diverse cultural backgrounds, with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. It’s very important to see people like you represented in fiction and poetry. I recently read Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta, telling the story of a lesbian girl growing up in Nigeria. When it comes to fiction, I adore the writings of Ruth Ozeki, especially All Over Creation, and the spectacular way in which Jeanette Winterson uses her words, mingling science, the stars, biography and dreams.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My latest book is a poetry collection called Constellations with Batteries and Sellotape, and it deals with the intense way we feel things during young adulthood, the ambiguities of growing independent and feeling helpless. It’s all autobiographical, tracing my (embarrassingly tumultuous, but such is life) crush on and eventually relationship with my partner, dealing with my closeted nonbinary identity within my family, with the way I’ve experienced anxiety and mental illness in general, and the disturbingly strong feelings I sometimes have about jasmines.
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