The Ministry of Culture and sports, with great pleasure and honor, proclaims 2023 as the “literary Year of Alkis Zei”, on the occasion of the completion of 100 years since her birth, organizing a series of events throughout 2023.
As stated by the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni:
“A particularly beloved, prolific, multi-translated and award-winning author, with a significant presence in the field of Greek letters, children’s and adolescent literature in Greece and abroad, Alki Zei remained active until the end of her life, regularly conversing with her readers and participating in the public. Her writing is directly related to history. Starting from her personal experiences, she weaves the premise of her works alongside historical events. Her clear way of writing, her linguistic Excellence, her critical attitude towards people and situations, her humor and her penetrating look at events, are the characteristics of her works: “the fiancee of Achilles”,” the Kaplani of the window “and” the Great Walk of Peter”, are included in the timeless bestselling books of modern Greek literature, remaining popular with teenagers and adult readers”.
The Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports Nikolas Giatromanolakis made the following statement: “Alkis Zei phenomenon will say children’s and adolescent literature that is read with passion and by adults, will say literary characters that affect generations and generations of readers, will say rendition of history with high literary value, will say innumerable distinctions and translations in dozens of languages, will say books that exist in almost every Greek home. This phenomenon we will celebrate and honor in 2023”.
Alki Zei herself about the relationship of her writing work with history had written:
“From my young years until today, let me not say exactly how many it is because I will be scared myself, I experienced a war, two civil wars, two dictatorships and two refugees. I did not experience them as a simple observer, but taking an active part every time and even if I wanted, my writing work could not be affected by these events that shook our country. My life got caught up in history and I became a part of it. So my writing work, I want not I want, is full of history… if I succeeded in making the children listen to it at least, the future will show”, he had stated
Alki Zei was involved in writing from a very young age. In the first even classes of high school he began to write texts for the puppet theater. One of the heroes he created, Kluvios, subsequently became the hero of the well-known puppet theater “Barba-Mytousis”. Her first novel is “the Kaplani of the window” (1963), a work almost autobiographical, inspired by her childhood in Samos. A series of novels for Children follows, and in 1987 she releases her first book for grown-ups, “Achilles ‘ fiancee”. In 2013 she released her autobiographical work “in pencil Faber Number Two”, and in 2017″How Long Will you live, Grandma”. Her last book, “a child out of nowhere”, was published a few months before her death.
“Kaplani Tou Vitrina”, her first novel, was a landmark work for Greek children’s literature and is now considered a classic work of world literature for children, with continuous reissues since 1963 that was first released in Greece and many translations and distinctions abroad. Alki Zei has been an ambassador of contemporary Greek literature abroad, as all of her work is translated and published in many countries around the world. She herself has also translated from French, Italian and Russian several books.
She was awarded the Academy of Athens award for her entire work and was awarded an honorary doctorate in universities in Greece and Cyprus. He received the Gold Cross of the Order of Honor, and the title of Commander of the Order of Arts and letters.
For the organization of the “literary Year of Alkis Zei” a working group was established for the coordination, support, planning of actions, as well as for the evaluation of proposals and requests for patronage of various bodies for their actions in the context of the celebration of the year.
The group consisted of:
- Eleni Doundoulaki, Secretary General Of Contemporary Culture
- Filippos Tsimpoglou, Director General of the National Library of Greece
- Petros Sevastikoglou, Director – Professor of cinematography
- Christina Dounia, Emeritus Professor of Modern Greek Philology NKUA
- Melpomeni Kanatsouli, professor of the Department of Early Childhood Education and education of auth
- Athanasios Agathos, Associate Professor of Modern Greek literature NKUA
- Vasiliki Nika, Educator, Member E.Di.P NKUA, President of the Greek Department of IBBY
- Plato Mavromoustakos, professor of the Department of theatrical studies of the University of Athens
- Sissy Papathanasiou, cultural historian, head of the Department of letters of the Ministry of culture
Among the Central actions in the context of the celebration of the literary year, the Ministry of Culture plans the release of a dedicated volume, a large exhibition at the Benaki Museum (138 Pireos building) at the end of February, as well as a series of educational programs and events in Greece and abroad.
Alki Zei will also be honored at the International Children’s Book Fair in Bologna (6-9 March 2023), where Greece will participate as an “honored market”.