How my novel “Kojrillat” (Crane Birds- Gruidae) was inspired


Fatmir Terziu

No matter how much you love writing; there will always be days when you need inspiration from one muse or another. In fact, I would argue that inspiration is not just a desirable thing; it’s an integral part of the writing process. Every writer needs to find inspiration in order to produce inspired writing. And sometimes, it can come from the unlikeliest sources. “Kojrillat” is my third novel. The theme of this novel was inspired by the death of a beautiful Albanian woman in London 1932.
The synopsis of this novel reads that 80 years before a drama of International politics and a woman’s Jealousy was known to lie behind the tragic death of the poisoning in London of Madame Zeinep Vlora, the red-haired and beautiful Albanian woman on whom a secret Inquest was held by Dr. Edwin Smith, the Hammersmith (Eng.) coroner of that time.
According to British Newspapers Archives it was disclosed that the inquest was actually held in the Albanian Legation in Pent Street, W. A full inquiry has been conducted by leading detectives from Scotland Yard. Mr Djemil Dino was Minister of Albanian Legation in London. The house occupied by Mr Djemil Dino, the Albanian Minister in London, was formerly occupied by Rafael Sabatini, the novelist. Never in his wildest Imaginings, however, did Sabatini conceive a drama as poignant as that played out within its own walls.
Madame Vlora, at her last gasp for money, and intensely Jealous of a man in London with who she was in love, sought permission to enter the French Army Medical Corps as a nurse.
Her application was refused, but acquaintances in the French Cabinet saw that her application reached the proper quarter. The refusal was thought to be due to the part played In International politics by Madame Vlora.
Her link with them began in 1914, when she was chosen as a reigning beauty in Albania to greet Prince William of Wield, appointed Prince of Albania. She was born on April 27, 1894, and married, in 1907. Her husband was Djemil Vlora; who is one of Albania’s most distinguished sons, and opened his house in Vlora in 28 November 1912 for the raising of the Albanian flag of Independence. A year after her marriage, she became embroiled in the political life of the warring nations, she is said to have been instrumental in giving the Allies valuable information concerning the plans of General Conrad von Hoetzendorff, Chief of the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Staff. During the war her love of her own country inspired her with a bitter dislike of Austria, and she became eager to serve the Allied cause in whatever way she could. It was during her war-time adventures that she met both Madame Lupescu, King Carol’s red-haired friend, and D’Annunrlo, the Italian poet. Her marriage was dissolved and her husband paid her a handsome allowance. She spent money freely wherever she was and dressed expensively. After the war, political developments in Central Europe caused her to turn against her former Italian friends. She was indignant when Ahmed Zogu became King of Albania, for she felt that her country was now under Italian domination.
She left Italy for Paris, saying she was going to look after an aunt. The Paris police failed to trace her relative, however the Italian police were in touch with her daughter, who was a very young and happily married to a wealthy Italian. They lived In Northern Italy. During recent months she was deeply in love with a man in London. She hoped to see him that following Christmas, and it is thought that she came over from Paris for that purpose. Disappointed at being unable to find her man in London, and doubtless weary of her financial troubles, she ended her life.
Madame Zeinep Vlora’s body lay embalmed in the private mortuary of a Fulham Road, W., in an expensive coffin, with gold handles, and was guarded day and night by the undertakers.
Inquiries were held into the circumstances in which the coroner held the inquest in the camera showed that a quest for a private inquest was received by the Foreign Office from the Albanian Minister.
Efforts to get into touch with M. Djemil Dino, the Albanian Minister, were unveiled. He was stated to have left London “for the country.” The doctor who attended Madame Vlora was also out of London at the time.
Sir Harry Eyres, K.C.M.G., the former British Minister in Albania, was however abroad. A postcard sent from his house in Slough and signed P. L. I. Eyres, was one among the dead woman’s possessions in Paris.
The card said: “The train leaves Paddington at 11.20, and we shall wait at the station at Slough at 11.47. (Signed) P. L. I. Eyres”. The date on the card was May 26, and was addressed to Madame Vlora at the Albanian Legation in London.
I have been busy promoting the novel in London, and I am working on my other new book as well as writing some research thesis in English under the theme of Cultural Memory and Identity. These are in a far more light-hearted vein than the novels and my readers have been encouraging me to write more. I will probably start publishing in English language.


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