If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in conversation with film-maker and author Billy Cotsis, be prepared to be taken on a magic carpet ride of stories covering everything from world travel, politics, history, sports and puns, the latter which have been dubbed Billyisms and pepper the prose of his debut fiction novel “Once Upon A Time in Crystal Palace. It is the first fictional novel about Brexit.
Cotsis’s permanent smile, friendly disposition and calm outlook belies the volume of work he has been able to produce each year. From award-winning documentaries about Mykonos and Lesvos to his previous books ‘From Pyrrhus to Cyprus; Forgotten and Remembered Hellenic Kingdoms, Entities and Fiefdoms’ and ‘The Many Faces of Hellenic Culture.’
Opening up the pages of ‘Once Upon A Time in Crystal Palace’, it is hard to believe this is the first time he has dabbled in fiction. A natural storyteller with a kaleidoscope of characters his novel is a page-turner from beginning to end. His love of London, having lived there for some years, and sport is well documented, and in this book, he pays homage to both. “It is set in the time of Brexit about a struggling football team in my old neighbourhood and features a range of characters based on real people and the two fictional characters Phillipos, named for King Phillipos II of Macedonia and Alcibiades, joined by an assistant manager called Fernandinha and team Captain Jamal. Some of the characters are inspired by real people I hung out with in Palace.”
Coming up in the year ahead for Cotsis is resuming research for his next book, a fiction about the Byzantine Empire. Set in a time of Constantinople, it will be based around the Emperor and a fictional female hero. “I’m trying to incorporate female characters as this era lacks information on the contributions of women to the fight against the advancing Ottomans,” Cotsis says. “The end game is that the era understands how heroic the remaining Greeks and allies were, the betrayal of many Christians who fought with the Sultan, the betrayal of Venice and the deeds of some mighty Cretans, Genoans, a Turkish prince, and a Scot.”
There are also the three national screenings of his hotly anticipated Magna Graecia documentary, and Channel 7 will run a mini-series that he produced, wrote and directed.
Those who know him are convinced he does not sleep as, in between his films and books, he finds the time to be a presenter for MerakiTV, a freelance writer and lending a helping hand to others.
For copies of Once Upon A Time in Crystal Palace contact the Greek Bilingual Bookshop bilingualbookshop and amazon for those in the UK and the rest of the world.
You can follow Cotsis and his myriad projects at herculean