“Always be a poet, even in prose.” Charles Baudelaire
Aiming once again to highlight the contemporary Greek literary production, the Thessaloniki Book Fair welcomes the county’s young writers within the framework of the Young Writers’ Festival which takes places for the ninth year. The pivotal role of poetry will be the theme of this year’s Young Writers’ Festival (6-7 May 2023), with the participation of ten poets of the new generation, namely Georgia Diakou, Tria Epsilon, Ariadni Kalokyri, Viki Katsarou, Electra Lazar, Ioanna Lioutsia, Maria Malamati-Petridou, Akis Parafelas, Eleni Sabani and Nikos Fildsis. Τhe poets will have present their poetic work through interesting discussions on modern poetry – both at an individual and collective level – along with poetry readings, interviews and poetic conversations aiming to highlight their personal poetic style and at the same time approach the way poetry talks about and interprets the present.
C. P. Cavafy Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies and Comparative Literature Vassilis Lambropoulos will open the second day of the festival with a talk on the contemporary poetic landscape in Greece, while poet-translator Alexios Mainas will contribute to the discussion with questions on modern poetics. More specifically, the Young Writers’ Festival will take place on Saturday 6 May from 13:00 to 15:00 with an introductory talk by the festival’s curator Yorgos Alisanoglou, a discussion with the poets, poetry readings, and on Sunday 7 May from 14:00 to 16:00 with a panel discussion [Vassilis Lambropoulos, Yorgos Alisanoglou and Alexios Mainas], poetry readings etc.
The poets who participate in the 9th Young Writers’ Festival have already published one or more collections of poetry, while their work appears in literary magazines on a regular basis. They specialize in the art of performance poetry and are involved in translation. Many among them have been shortlisted or received important literary awards. The contemporary generation of Greek poets honors the country’s major literary tradition, while their high quality work contributes to the promotion of poetry and the modern Greek civilization in general.
Georgia Diakou (Karditsa, 1995) is a graduate of the Department of History and Archeology and a final year student at the Theater Department of the University of Athens. She has published the poetry collection Αυτά που φαίνονται στο φως μού μοιάζουν οικεία [Things that are seen in the light look familiar to me], (Thraca, 2022), and has written together with Melina Apostolidou the play Η πόλη έβαλε τους ανθρώπους της στα παγκάκια και κατάπιε μια μέντα [The city put her people on the benches and swallowed a mint], (Vakhikon, 2022). Her poems have been published in printed and online magazines.
Efstathia P (Τria Epsilon) was born and raised in Thessaloniki. She studied Philology and General Comparative Literature and works as a teacher. She has published her works and translations in various magazines, while maintaining the blog tria epsilon. In 2022 she received the Thraca Award, which led to the publication of her first poetry collection Γνωρίζω αυτές που πλέκουν στη μέση της θάλασσας [I know those women who weave in the middle of the sea].
Ariadni Kalokiri was born in Athens. She studied architecture and theater. Co-founder of the creative agency Pencilcase, she works in graphic design. Her poems have been published in various online and printed magazines. Her first poetry collection titled Χώρα αναμονής [Waiting country] was published in 2021 by Kichli. The book was shortlisted for the “Anagnostis” and the Ηellenic Authors’ Society Award in the category “Newcomers in Poetry”.
Viki Katsarou was born in 1987 and lives in Athens. She studied at the Department of Classical Philology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and has done postgraduate studies in Greek Language and Literature, Theater Studies and the 8th Curator's Workshop of MIET. She has published three poetry collections: Τα κεράσια της Εύας [Eva's Cherries] (Iolkos, 2018), Παπούσα [Papousa] (Enypnio, 2020) and Χαρακίδες [Charakides] (Enypnio, 2023).
Electra Lazar was born in 1989 and lives in Athens. She is an anthropologist with a background in human-geography, research and education. The constant search for a [re]solution to the human condition has led her to poetry from an early age. She has experimented with new forms of writing and narration through the TwoParts poetry project and group co-writing. Her first poetry collection Άγια Νήπια [Holy Infants] (Αparsis, 2019) won the State Literary Award for Newcomer Poet. Her poems and essays are published in literary magazines and on the internet.
Ioanna Liοutsia was born in Thessaloniki in 1992. She is a PhD candidate and her research refers to the art of performance in the Balkans and its relation to the socio-political conditions (1970-2000). She has published four poetry collections: Ανοιχτά Φωνήεντα και Δαγκωμένα Σύμφωνα [Open vowels and bitten accrods] (2022), Η Σιωπή σε δύο χώρους [Silence in two spaces] (2018), Αρρυθμίες [Arrhythmias] (2016), Συνομιλίες σε Μη+ [Conversations in Mi+] (2014). Her play First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin was shortlisted for the Berliner Festspiele 2019. She works as an actor, director, dramatist and theater teacher.
Akis Parafelas was born in 1989 in Thessaloniki, where he still lives. He studied law, philosophy and German philology in Greece and abroad. His first book of poetry Παρασημαντική [Parasemantics] (Τhraca 2018, Enypnio 2022) received the Newcomer Poet literary award of the “Anagnostis” magazine and was shortlisted in the respective category of the Hellenic Authors’ Society awards. Recently, in collaboration with Maria Oikonomou, he translated part of Björn Kuhligk's poetry collection The Language of Gibraltar from German.
Malamati Maria Petridou was born in 1993 and grew up in Thessaloniki. She studied Political Science and continued her studies in Political Philosophy and Gender Studies. He lives and works in Athens in a refugee camp with unaccompanied children. She has been writing poems and prose since she was a small child. Οι Θάλασσες τον Χειμώνα [Seas in the winter] is her first poetry collection.
Eleni Sabani is a psychologist, systemic-family psychotherapist and poet. She studied sociology, anthropology and history of football, and writes lyrics for songs. Her writings have been published in print and online literary magazines. Her first collection Η σκόνη που βαραίνει τα ράφια μας [The dust weighing down our shelves] (Kedros, 2018) was nominated for the “Yannis Varveris” Award.
Nikos Fildisis was born in 1987 in Athens. He studied Biology at the University of Crete. In 2012, he completed postgraduate studies in Immunology at King's College London and did his PhD research at Guy's Hospital. Τhe same year he published his first poetry collection Το παραβάν [Folding screen] (Odos Panos), which was nominated for the “Yannis Varveris” Award of the Hellenic Authors’ Society. In 2016, he published his second poetry collection Υδράργυρος [Μercury] (Odos Panos). His latest collection titled Όλα τα αδέσποτα γατιά του ονείρου μου [All the stray cats of my dream] was published by Mikri Arktos and poems were set to music by Michalis Kalogerakis.
The Thessaloniki Books Fair is organized by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture in cooperation with Greek Publishers, TIF–HELEXPO, the Central Macedonia Region, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou. It is co-funded by the European Regional Development Development Fund under the 2014-2020 Regional Operational Program (ROP) for Central Macedonia. TBF is a member of the International Book Fairs Forum and ALDUS UP – the European Book Fairs Network.
The General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy is the media sponsor of the 19th Thessaloniki Book Fair regarding its international promotion.
Read also: Reading Greece:19th Thessaloniki Book Fair – Books and International Dialogue