Turkish-born Greek Australian essayist, reviewer, broadcaster, editor and author Dmetri Kakmi migrated to Australia in 1971 when he was 10 years old. His memoir of growing up on the island of Tenedos, titled Mother Land (2008, new edition 2015) has received widespread acclaim and has been published in Australia, England and Turkey. Mr Kakmi has also compiled and edited the children’s anthology, When We Were Young. His essays and short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, these include essays such as “Night of the Living Wog”, “The Tranny Horror From Outer Space”. His work “Haunting Matilda”, published in Cthulhu Deep Down Under, was shortlisted for Best Fantasy Novella in the Aurealis Awards 2015.

Mr Kakmi’s new book The Door will be published in September 2020.

What are you reading?

I’m re-reading the seminal ghost story, “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson, in preparation for a lecture I’m giving online at Writers Victoria in June.

What are you watching?

Spanish crime thrillers on Netflix. The Invisible Guest, The Invisible Guardian, The Legacy of the Bones etc.

What music are you listening to?

I listen to electronic ambient music while working. Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Loscil, Biosphere etc.

What are you cooking?

Weirdly, I’ve taken to baking since the lockdown. Never done it before and now I find myself producing loaves of bread and cakes.

READ MORE: Life in Lockdown: Q&A with Bill Papastergiadis, President of the Greek Community of Melbourne

How are you staying fit, both physically and mentally?

I went to the gym three or four times a week before lockdown, but I’ve not taken any exercise since. I aim to be a fat drunk with shaggy hair by the end of this mad time.

What’s the one thing keeping you sane?

I’m finding solace in reading poetry, namely Czeslaw Milosz’s A Book of Luminous Things, Baudelaire’s The Parisian Prowler and haiku by Basho.

Are you working from home? If so how’s that going, if not what’s work like for you now?

I’m solitary by nature and I’ve worked from home for a decade, so I’m used to being alone and locked up.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

Seeing friends’ faces pop up on social networking services, smiling and dizzily holding aloft cocktails.

READ MORE: A complex and fearless writer

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

I’m a touchy-feely person. The hardest thing during this time has been not to be able to hug or kiss, or even just to reach out and touch, friends. Social distancing is a nightmare.

What’s your advice for others to cope with the crisis?

Enjoy the peace and quiet—unless you have kids, in which case you have my sympathy. Notice the absence of noise now that aeroplanes are not rumbling in the sky, and the cleaner air.