Celebrating over 2500 years of storytelling!
BolognaBookPlus2023 had Greece as Market of Honour – Greek writers, illustrators, graphic novelists, publishers – the Greek book ecosystem was present in Bologna to share their vision, work, creativity, literary wealth and diverse voices. The Greek pavilion hosted children’s book illustrations, graphic novels, comics and books by different publishers. All About Book Publishing brings to you conversations and insights into the contemporary world of Greek Literature.
“Loved the experience with new contacts and perspectives”
“I really feel so happy for this opportunity for Greece being Market of Honour at BBplus 2023 to present to international publishing world our authors, illustrators, projects and ideas about books. We have loved the experience with new contacts and perspectives and am grateful to the entire team for this opportunity,” shares Nopi Chatzigeorgiou,International Book Fairs Coordinator, Hellenic Foundation for Culture.
“Books are essential”
Angeliki Darlasi is an author of children’s and adolescent literature, playwright and screenwriter and has been praised to be a weaver of tales. She made her debut as a playwright in 2000 and a prose writer in 2004 with her novel Dream Guardians which won the Greek state Prize for that year. She has also won 3 Greek IBBY Awards and is Greek candidate Author for the Hans Christian Andersen Award 2024 and Woman Ambassador for Children’s Books (2022-2024). Diversity, acceptance, trauma of war and casualty are some of the elements of her work. She feels she writes for children and young people to communicate to them, not about the past, but about the future. Several of her books have been adapted for theatre and the puppet theatre and two of them are in development stage for movies. She has written over 30 books and her books have been translated to Korean, Turkish, Italian, French, German , Macedonian & English. “BBplus gives us an opportunity to meet new people, publishers and agents to collaborate and exchange ideas with. Gives us an opportunity to see fantastic work from around the world. I feel books are bread and water which are essential,” she says.
“My books represent meaning of life”
Antonis Nikolopoulos, is an artist of comics and a political cartoonist. As many as 14 collections of his cartoons and comics have been published and are in circulation. His work has been presented in Europe and the USA. He is working on his 4th graphic novel. His first graphic novel Aivali (2014) has been translated into English, French, Turkish and Spanish. It’s a story of Greeks and Turks in 1922 when 1.6 million refugees were forced to leave their homelands. Aivali immediately became a subject of wider debates. His other graphic novels include: The Collector, which talks about the alienation of children from one parent after a divorce; 21-The battle of the Square tells the story of Greek struggle for independence from the ottoman empire, while Zorba will release in autumn of 2023. Through his graphic novels, he wants to represent meaning of life and focus on everyday life of people affected by different atrocities. His books have been translated in four languages. He feels that their participation at BBplus allows to meet other artists in a global way, it opens up new avenues and to see new perspective of art. “It is a platform to see work by other artists and editors and to understand what is needed to gain a global audience,” he says.
“I experiment with my drawing style with different mediums and formats”
Dimitris Anastasiou is a painter and a producer of Graphic Novels. He has had 4 solo shows and has studied painting; his drawings have been exhibited in various cities across Greece. He published his first graphic novel “A=-A” in 2018 and it’s translated to English in 2021. “The book is about doubting everything and the narration takes place in a dream, where things are constantly changing. I could experiment with my drawing style in different chapters with mediums and formats. There is doubt in everything which gives us angst, I tried to depict this feeling with my graphic novel. I am working on my second graphic novel, the idea of which came after my son’s birth; it will take me two to three years to paint it. The fair is very inspiring and intimidating as the quality of work here is incredible, its’ a tsunami of books and one tries not to get drowned,” he smiles and shares.
“My writings resonates with readers from different countries”
Dimitris Sotakis’s literary journey began in 1997; he has since published 13 novels and a collection of short stories, many of which have been translated in 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 as for the Jean Monnet prize in France. He shares that his writing focuses on how people in modern times are after happiness and what they are willing to sacrifice in order to gain this happiness. “My heroes develop in a shallow reality, seeking happiness which they never succeed as new desires keep coming up. This phenomenon is the core of my books. My books have been translated into Italian, Chinese, French Serbian, Danish etc,” he says. “One needs to relax and enjoy the serenity of the world as our lives have become so complex and in vain, we are after many things – this theme has resonated with my readers from different countries. This is a great opportunity to be at BBplus as there are so many people from around the world who share the same passion and I get to interact with readers and people from the book Industry, it’s a very warm feeling and I really enjoy it,” he shares.
“People are preferring to read psychology, psychotherapy & history”
Eurasia Publications was founded in Athens by a group of young people 22 years back with an initial aim of publishing books in the cognitive areas of philosophy, history, economic and social sciences, epistemology, mathematics, law and international relations. Phaedon G.L. Kidoniatis of Eurasia Publications, shares, “Over the years, we have established ourselves in the Greek market in the non-fiction segment. Now we have 7 Imprints and 9 Academic Journals, we also publish fiction. Last four years we have published in English and in French and have distributed them internationally. We have 40-50 new titles every year and our backlist consists of 700 titles. People are preferring to read psychology, psychotherapy & history this trend we see not only in Greece but also globally. We are surprised that Animal Rights and institutional rights relating to the same have also been a fast-growing segment.”
He adds that Greek book market has 10,000 titles published every year and it is estimated to have 3000 selling points for books which vary from small bookstores to super markets.
He feels that in the last ten years, many bookstores have shut down which has not been supplemented by online sales leading to shrinking of overall market size. “There is demographic challenge of readers, people below 30 do not read and distribution needs to be improved,” he shares.
“We focus on high quality of books in all aspects. Being the Market of Honour is a great opportunity for Greece to get attention and be a part of the global book industry,” he adds.
“India and Greece have a strong and similar background in mythology”
The publishing house Ikaros was founded in 1943 by Nikos Karydis, Alekos Patsifas and Marios Ploritis as literary publishers. They are the exclusive publisher of the work of the two Nobel Prize-winning Greek poets Giorgos Seferis (1963) and Odysseus Elytis (1979). Since then, they have expanded into children’s books, graphic novels, Contemporary fiction in Greek and in translations, social science, philosophy and religion. They publish 50-60 titles every year and have a long list of classic writers and poets with a backlist of 1000 titles.
Shares Nikos Argyris, “We are known for our quality in selection of book, content and production among our readers critics and journalist. We publish in Greek and translate from English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Korean etc. Logistics and pricing are a challenge, all our books are digitally published also. Our concern is how to handle growth if we need to publish more titles a year. We have been participating in Bologna for the last ten years and we really enjoyed our presence here as Market of Honour. People must discover contemporary Greek literature as India and Greece have a strong and similar background in mythology.”
“There is a very poetic element
to the fair as children are always imaginative”
Thomas Tsalapatis has published four poetry collections in Greek; his poetry is free form and based on time, memories, loss and human journey. Through his poetry, he tries to acquire a contact with contemporary Greek and world poetry. He feels that in an age of extreme noise, poetry must remain fresh and an expression of truth of self. His essays and poetry have been translated into 9 to 10 languages. “I have a very good connection with Italy and have published two books here and have been to other book festivals too. I always like the poetic exchange and have admired the big Italian poets. It opens one’s own poetry language, it great to be in a children’s book fair, there is a very poetic element to the fair, as children are always imaginative,” he says.