Greece - 2023 Market of Honour


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BolognaBookPlus (BBPlus), the brand extension of the Bologna Children's Book Fair dedicated to general publishing, organized in collaboration with AIE - Associazione Italiana Editori, returns for a second in-person iteration and, this year, with its inaugural Market of Honour, Greece. 

greek minister

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, in partnership with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, the Publishers’ Associations and the entire Greek book sector will undertake a diverse and lively programme of professional and cultural events throughout BolognaBookPlus. Greece has one of the highest book production rates in the world, its literary tradition spans millennia, with Homer considered one of the greatest and most influential authors of all time, and boasts two Nobel laureates in Literature, the poets Odysseas Elytis and Giorgos Seferis. The Ministry of Culture and Sports together with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture has recently launched GreekLit, a translation grant programme to acquaint the world with the richness of Greek contemporary writing.

Greece has one of the highest book production rates in the world, its literary tradition spans millennia, with Homer considered one of the greatest and most influential authors of all time, and boasts two Nobel laureates in Literature, the poets Odysseas Elytis and Giorgos Seferis. The Ministry of Culture and Sports together with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture has recently launched GreekLit, a translation grant programme to acquaint the world with the richness of Greek contemporary writing.


The Greek publishing industry is largely based in Athens and Thessaloniki, enjoys its own annual international book fair in Thessaloniki, and has a strong National Literature Awards Programme. Launched in 1931, it has awarded luminaries including Kiki Dimoula, Titos Patrikios, Giannis Ritsos, Antonis Samarakis and Vassilis Vassilikos among others. Meanwhile, the retail sector is vibrant, comprising 1500 bookshops across the country. 

Greece, Market of Honour BolognaBookPlus will include an Author Programme; Participation in the BolognaBookPlus Bookseller Programme with EIBF; Professional Matchmaking Programme; Guest Speakers at the Translation Forum and the Rights Training; Inclusion in the Jackets Off and Best of the Best illustration and Design Programmes, in addition to cultural activities with consumer facing partners. Greece will bring an impressive delegation of contemporary authors and illustrators, along with publishers, translators, and booksellers, showcasing their vibrant publishing scene: Angeliki Darlasi; Christos Ikonomou; Dimitris Anastasiou; Ersi Sotiropoulos; Petros Markaris; Stergia Kavvalou; Thomas Tsalapatis; Ursula Foskolou; Vagelis Iliopoulos; Soloúp; Dimitris Sotakis, and illustrators: Photini Stephanidi; Kelly Matathia-Covo. 

The BBPlus comprehensive seminar programme includes a variety of Greek themes and speakers, including a dedicated seminar on technology and innovation in the Greek sector, and an overview of the Greek Book market, both on 6 March in the BBPlus theatre. There will be daily morning coffee, and afternoon meet the authors and illustrators sessions at the Greek pavilion. Author and poet Ersi Sotiropoulos will be in conversation with BBPlus Author Ambassador, Loyd Grossman, Tuesday 7th.

(in the picture: Nicholas Yatromanolakis, Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports, responsible for Contemporary Culture)

Authors and Illustrators

My name is Dimitris Anastasiou, I am a painter and a producer of graphic novels. I have held four individual painting exhibitions – the most recent one under the general title, “Tangram”, from December, 2022 to January 2023 at the Citronne Gallery in Athens. Drawings of mine have been exhibited in various cities across Greece, but also in Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. My first graphic novel entitled “A=-A” was published in Greece in 2018 by the Kaleidoscope Publishing House and its translation into English was published in 2021 by Penguin’s Jonathan Cape Editions for the countries of the English Commonwealth.

I began to write my own stories at the age of seven and kept saying that I would become an author when I would grow up. I made my debut as

playwright in the year 2000 and as a prose writer in 2004 with my novel “Dream Guardians”, with which I received the National Award for Children’s Book.

Twenty years later I can say that I am an author of children’s and adolescent literature, playwright and screenwriter. I have been repeatedly awarded and distinguished for my writing. My books and works in general have been translated into many languages and I look forward for more. Some of them have been staged in Greece and in other countries, the most recent being my collaboration

in the performance “Die Neuen Todsünden”, a joint production of the State Theatres of Karlsruhe, Upsala and Luxembourg (2021).

Following a proposal of the Greek Section of IBBY, I am a Greek Candidate Author for the

Hans Christian Andersen Award 2024 and Woman Ambassador for Children’s Books (2022-2024).

The common characteristics of my works for children and adults are, perhaps, an “idiosyncratic” poetic realism and, often, accompanied by strong elements of magical realism and of (political) allegory. Diversity, acceptance (or not) of Otherness, the trauma of war and casualty remain constant thematic elements in my work.

I write because I cannot and do not wish to do something different. It is the means through which

I can best communicate to others that which I am.

I write for children and young people because it is not the past which haunts me…as much as it is the future. And it is the future to which I feel I owe the most…

I was born in Athens in 1986. When asked, I never say “I am an author”.

I prefer to say that “I write”. I emerged into the literary microcosm in 2016, from the belly of a sea creature, with the help of Kichli Publishing House. “The Whale” is the title of my first book, a collection of short prose texts bordering poetry. In 2020

I published a novella entitled “The Lady of Insects”, while, in 2022 my novella, “Go gentle” saw its publication. My most recent book, written amidst the gloom of the recent pandemic, belongs more or less to the sphere of science fiction. At its core, it contains a search of the self and memory, research of the liquid limits of identity and, at the same time, an inquiry into the mystery of the end. Ever since I began to write, the subjects which interest me include childhood, love, death, old age and gender identity.

I keep coming back to all these, approaching them from different angles each time, I transform them into smells, images, fairy tales, in order to overcome them. When I write, but also when I don’t write, I suffer from images, from the words that constantly drill my mind, I always try to trip the author Ursulla trying to make her stumble. My inspiration springs mostly from something very small which, however, hides a strong emotion, a powerful image. After I have placed it into the core, I build, step by step the universe that will be its host.

I have published four collections of short stories and other fiction texts which have been awarded in Greece and abroad. Short stories of mine have been included in multiple Greek and foreign anthologies, have been adapted for the theatre and cinema and have been translated into 15 languages.

Literature for me is the crossroads of meeting for authors, the place and time, yet with a timeless and universal dimension, which surpasses the “here” and the “now”. And it is this, I believe, the greatest ambition for an author: to be able -- without losing his identity – to go beyond the walls of his language and times and approach as many people as possible.

In so far as it concerns me, an author must not only be a seismographer or a seismologist of his

times. He must often be an earthquake himself. That is, to try with his work to create crevasses through the crust of things, to alter the landscape, as much as that seems an oxymoron, the events of the future.

Literature is an incessant exercise of sensitivity.

Not a pose of sensitivity, but an exercise of sensitivity. Literature is experience. And, just like every other experience, it helps us to discover those aspects of ourselves which we are either unaware of, or choose to ignore because we consider them detestable, because they blur our filtered image, that self-righteous image we maintain for ourselves. It is precisely this that, for me, constitutes the moral aspect of literature: it helps us gain self-awareness, to break the restraints of apathy, compromise and excuse based on myths. Literature does not simply shed light onto darkness. It gives face value to darkness. I write stories because I wish to create hope for what I want to see happen. Hope is a creation. Our own creation. We make hope with all those things we do or do not do. Hope is perhaps the most powerful weapon we hold against fear and death. Hope is resistance against the oppression of human spirit, human existence, fear of death.

Hence, as far as I am concerned, an author’s aim should precisely be this: to give, through his work, a path to hope, not to fear of death. To offer a path, not towards death, but to life.

As I mentioned in this year’s message of the IBBY on the occasion of the International Children’s Book Day, I am a book. Its first page was written when

I was born in Athens. Ever since I can remember myself, I made up stories and played in them with my friends. In adolescence I wrote them down and kept them hidden in a drawer so that no one could read them. When I decided that I wanted other people

to read one of my fairy-tale stories, I published my first book entitled “Love like fairytales” in 1995. Then came “The Liftle Triangle-fish” (1997) which was destined to become the most popular contemporary hero in Greece. Eight books, educational programs, songs, theatre productions, films, animation. More than eighty books of mine for children and young readers have been published, many of which have been awarded and published in other countries as well. When I was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Prize, I pointed out that if I were to offer

a synopsis of my entire work in one word, this word would be “love”. Love fights all discriminations, racism, bullying. Love brings peace, both to the world and our inner self. That love which makes me accept “otherness”. Besides, that “other” may well be myself. I am a book. Read me.

I am Stergia Kavvalou and I have been writing short stories, novels, poetry, plays, fairytales and literature for children since 2010. From my early childhood I began to learn French and I studied French Language and Literature, which led me to the translation of literature. I translate books, film

and documentary subtitles from English and French. When I was a small child I used to say out loud that I would become a singer but at the same time I would whisper within that I really wanted to become an “author and translator”, therefore, I feel very happy that my child wish became reality.

Since I have undertaken a variety of genres as projects, several people have encouraged me to choose one and focus on it. You can write a very hard text for adults and at the same time to wish to speak to children as their accomplice and succeed in doing so. Each time I have the opportunity for

a presentation which abolishes the distance that separates me from my readers, whether young at schools, libraries and bookstores, or adults, I don’t feel quite as lonely. And I wish that they feel the same when they read my books.

With my book “The Clothing wardrobe”, my aim was to speak about the sense of distress and unhappiness created in children by the stereotypes we impose upon them with regard to their gender. My intention was to show that colours and toys are made for all children. Beyond this intention, I believe that in each one of my books there lies a fear and at the same time the need for the heroine or the hero to escape from that fear. A fear somewhat imposed upon them by society itself. It is my own need to show that we can learn and act differently.

I was born and raised in Istanbul. I also began my writing activity in this city in the Greek-language literary magazine,“Pyrsos”.

In 1964 I settled in Athens. The main reason for my settlement in Athens was my decision to write

in my native language, in spite of the fact that in Istanbul I had graduated from a lyceum in which German was the spoken and written language.

My relationship to the two languages initially led me to translating. My personal writing activity began in the realm of the theatre, as a playwright, mainly due to influence exercised on me by the important German author, Bertolt Brecht.

In 1970, during the military junta, my play,

“The Story of Ali Retzo” was staged at the “Elefthero” Theatre and was received with a great deal of enthusiasm by critics and public, a real success.

It was the production of this play which led to my meeting with the filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos, a meeting that was to become a strong friendship as well a collaboration in the scenarios of his films.

This is how I shifted my work from the theatre to the writing of scenarios.

In 1990 I began to write the scenarios for a television series entitled “Anatomy of a Crime”. During the writing of these scenarios, one day, out of nowhere, there appeared, together with his family, the character of a police officer whom I named, Kostas Haritos. This meeting was the occasion for writing my first crime novel entitled Late - Night News, at the age of 59. Since that time, I have wriften sixteen crime novels, all of which have Kostas Haritos as their main character.

I often think that it is our innate need for a better understanding of the world and of ourselves that drives us to create books, for they can be windows and they can be mirrors.

For me, illustrating a book is the opportunity I am given to join an author in the process of narration. Together we will tell the same story

following different paths. One with written words the other with pictures, all the while trying not to repeat ourselves. Often focusing on social issues, sometimes my pictures comment on the text with humour, using for instance exaggeration, or even a delicate kind of irony, while on other occasions my illustrations may lead to interpretations that the authors themselves had not thought of. I would say that when I illustrate a book, I don’t have prospect readers in my mind, but rather consider how the result of what I do would satisfy the child in me.

I believe that storytelling and picture books always find ways to communicate even the most difficult subjects. So, in 2017 I wrote and illustrated “The Yellow Hats”, a book inspired by my family’s rescue story during the Holocaust, published in Greece by Patakis Publishers.

I was born and raised in Athens, Greece, where I continue to live and work as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator of Children’s Books.

Over the years I have worked with important authors and publishers and I have illustrated more than 20 books many of which have received awards and accolades.

Born in Mytilene in 1975.

Studied at Chronis Botsoglou’s Studio / 2nd Painting Studio, Athens School of Fine Arts.

Graduated in 2004.

He has had solo and group exhibitions in Greece. 

He also illustrates children's books, some of which have won awards.

I am an artist of comics and political cartoonist and I sign my sketches with the pseudonym Soloup. I have studied Political Science at the Panteion University in Athens and hold a Ph.D. from the Aegean University. I am also a postdoctoral researcher in the Dept.

of Cultural Technology and Communication at the above university. I teach the art of cartoon and comics in the E-Learning Program of the University of Athens.

To date, 14 collections of my cartoons and comics have been published and are in circulation, as well as my doctoral dissertation entitled “Greek Comics” (Topos Publications 2011). My graphic novel “Aivali” (Kedros Editions 2014) has been translated into English, French, Turkish and Spanish. “The Collector” (Ikaros Publishers 2018) and “21-The Greek Revolution” (Ikaros Publishers 2021). Presently, I am working on an adaptation into a graphic novel of Nikos Kazantzakis’ well-known novel, “Zorba the Greek” (Dioptra Publications 2023).

On the occasion of the publication of my graphic novels, “Aivali” and “The Collector”, two major exhibitions took place at the Benaki Museum in Athens (2015 and 2019 respectively), while

the graphic novel “21-The Greek Revolution” was the occasion for the longest in duration comics exhibition in Greece (2021-2022) at two different venues simultaneously, the National Museum of Greek History and the Stratis Eleftheriadis-Teriade Museum on the island of Lesvos.

My work has also been presented and exhibited in Europe and the USA.

I was born in Athens about 50 years ago and my literary journey began in 1997 with the publication of my first novel. I have published 11 novels, many of which have been translated into more than 20 languages. “The Miracle of Breathing”, published in 2009 in Greece has been translated into Italian, a book which was nominated for the European Award for Literary Excellence, as well and the Jean Monnet Prize

in France. My work consists mainly of elements springing from the sphere of the “imagination”, my heroes are born and develop in a shallow reality, seeking happiness and a way of life which they never succeeded in accomplishing. I am very happy to be part of the Bologna Book Fair, in Italy, a country of such a high literary heritage and history and, of course, I am very enthusiastic for the fact that I will have the opportunity to meet and talk with the local readers and book lovers. Besides, what always brings us together is our common love for writing and expression through the written word. This is, without a doubt, our way of communication in one common language without borders.

I’m a digger who digs without knowing what I’ll find. I dig and dig furiously, days pass, months, sleepless nights. What gives me the strength to keep going

is my obsession with an image, perhaps blurry, or the fleeting snippet of a conversation that’s still dogging me—like when we think that we didn’t hear something well, and yet it registered within us. Digging in, the vague slowly takes shape.

My characters are often everyday folk, women next door forced to walk on the razor’s edge, ordinary people. But, as I write, I discover that each of them is ordinary in their own way, which is to say they are extraordinary, no one is predictable. They inch over the gears of a world that escapes them, struggling to keep the thin thread of their daily lives intact. A random event breaks the thread. A flicker of love, a sudden encounter. Erotic desire recurs in my books with a combustive force that transcends the boundaries of the sex drive, deeper and more enigmatic. “Love? What is love?” the young Cavafy asks in “What’s Left of the Night”. “Love thwarts death. Love is life.”

Since I was very young, when I began to write, what interested me was the unseen side of things, the stripping away of the myth: how what we consider reality is corroded by twisted layers of truth and refutation. Our existence never unfolds as an unbroken narrative. My life, your lives, lies half in light, half in darkness. What always fascinated me

was to bring that half-submerged life to the surface. Sometimes I leaf through my old notebooks filled with early poems — and I see that I am very far and very close to where I started.

My name is Photini Stephanidi and I was born in Athens in January, 1962. My father, an important painter and illustrator, introduced me to the world of images and pictures from as early as I can remember myself. I started with a systematic study of sketching and colouring from the age of 16.

I completed my studies in drawing and wall-painting at the Athens University School of Fine Arts having as professors the acclaimed artists Giannis Moralis and Dimitris Mytaras. My first illustrations were made in the presence of my father much before

I enrolled in the School of Fine Arts. Illustrations and engraving interest me equally with pure painting.

I have illustrated more than 100 books based on texts entrusted to me by distinguished Greek authors. I have illustrated collector’s books. I am intrigued by ancient and folk art, especially that of my country, and I was fortunate enough to have collaborated in the production of some 30 books with one of the most important archaeologists

in Greece, Christos Boulotis, illustrating texts for children and adults. In recent years I have been writing. The main inspiration in my writing are moments from my childhood, an element which is present as well in the books I illustrate. In my illustrations and drawings there is always an

overtone of elements from everyday life, glimpses and snapshots of the type we find in a journal.

A large part of the thematic aspect in my work is occupied by the flora of my country which I have been studying from my childhood out of purely personal interest and not dependent on schools of thought and trends. In the poster dedicated to the International Children’s Book Day – for which I was honoured to undertake its design by the Greek Section of IBBY –

I feel blessed to have created an image with subjects I adore: child, nature, book, Greece.

I was born in Athens in 1984. I received my education in this city and it is the city in which I live and

work. Poetry came to be in my life in a sudden, aggressive manner upon my first reading of Arthur Rimbaud’s “A Season in Hell”. I must have been 13 or 14. That is, at an age in which you may not quite comprehend, yet you might feel in a deeper sense thanks to the purity and naivety of premature

age. There followed four poetry collections (and at the same time, after some plays in a poetic style, several texts of criticism, translations and others),

I arrive at the conclusion that poetry constantly seeks this exact condition. The return to the primary situation, to that moment of the first acquaintance. To an enthusiasm accompanied by certain terms of commitment. To a simultaneous need of taking root and constant renewal. It is for all these reasons that I try to acquire, through writing poems and poetic compositions, a contact with both contemporary Greek and world poetry as it has unfolded in the last two centuries, but also with those elements which seem foreign in poetic forms. Dramatic dialogues and film directions, stand-up comedy and comics, philosophy of history and mathematics. Having chosen a path through the ways of free verse

from the prose poem and the short form to longer monologue poems. For, in an age of extreme noise as regards the meaning and the sense of things, in an age of information barrage, poetry must remain continually young and fresh as well as an expression of the world by speaking literally in the utmost sense.