BackStory: Three Questions with Avra Margariti

King Alexander of Greece

BackStory: Three Questions with Avra Margariti
Author of All the King’s Puppets and All the King’s Strings

What inspired you to write ‘All the King’s Puppets and All the King’s Strings’?

I was talking with a US-based friend about the little pockets of weirdness in Greek history. The conversation reminded me of Alexander and the monkey. I also wanted to write about the former summer palace of Tatoi, a place which feels replete with ghosts.

What is your favourite piece of historical flash? What do you like about it?

Five Deaths of Evatima Tardo, the Immortal by Cathy Ulrich, published in Hoxie Gorge Review. It’s a wonderful, heart-breaking micro told in five parts, about Harry Houdini’s muse, a woman said to be immortal but strange, as she felt no pain even from snake bites or needle stabs. I’m a big fan of body bizarreness, sideshow performances, and Cathy Ulrich’s work.

How much research did you do while writing and editing this piece? Did you discover anything that surprised you?

The story of Alexander and the monkey bite is well known in Greece, although some (now refuted) theories claim the king was poisoned. What I wasn’t familiar with until my research was the royal family’s insistence that they project a placating air of Hellenism, while simultaneously reminding each other that they are not – and will never want to be – Greek.

Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities and experiences. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Forge Literary, Baltimore Review, and other venues. You can find her on twitter @avramargariti.

Detail from photograph of King Alexander of Greece, 1917 via Wikimedia Commons.