It’s book fair time again, in the UK, France, Germany

The book fair season has started in earnest, and Greece will be present at the upcoming fairs in London, Paris and Leipzig. The team – the Panhellenic Federation of Publishers and Booksellers (POEB), the National Book Center (EKEBI), the European Translation Center (EKEMEL) and the Hellenic Society of Authors – are relying on a lean delegation and a few authors, but hope that experience will make their mission effective. London and Paris London is first, Sunday – March 19, and nine publishers will be at the Greek stand designed by Elli Pangalou. POEB will have a display of Greek books published in the past two years. «The London Book Fair is above all a venue for selling international rights,» EKEBI Director Christos Lazos told the press on Tuesday, explaining that this is an area in which Greece has to make progress. For example, he explained, the rights to many successful Greek publications are not held by a single organization. EKEBI is hosting a reception with Greek wine and food on March 17 at the London Book Fair and on the following day translator and literary critic Aris Berlis will present two Greek writers: Eleni Yiannakakis and Nikos Panayiotopoulos. Yiannakakis lives in the UK and teaches modern Greek literature at Oxford. Her first novel, «On Appetite and Other Horrors» (Hestia, 2001), won the Diavazo prize for a first novel. Panayiotopoulos is a screenwriter who has also written a collection of short stories, «The Materials’ Guilt» (1997) and two novels, «Ziggy from Marfan – The Diary of an Extraterrestrial» (1998) and «The Benefit of Doubt» (1999), all published by Polis. The Paris fair, Salon du Livre, follows almost immediately, on March 21-26, and this will be the first time Greece has attended on an official basis. The Greek stand will host eight publishers and Desmos, a Greek bookshop in Paris. Concerted efforts at promoting Greek books in France have started paying off, as EKEMEL Director Catherine Velissaris told the press. She compared the 24 Greek books translated into French last year with similar figures from Germany, Spain and Italy, to demonstrate the strength of the interest in Greek books. «And don’t forget that books translated into French often travel into other languages,» said Velissaris. Events in Paris include discussions and presentations of major literary figures, Vizyinos and Cavafy on the occasion of new editions of their work, and of contemporary writers Andreas Staikos, Panayiotopoulos, Ersi Sotiropoulou, Aris Alexandrou, Michel Fais, Ziranna Zatelli, Thodoros Grigoriadis and Nikos Petsalis-Diomidis. Le Monde literary critic and writer Francois Noiville and illustrator Christine Noiville will present their children’s book «La Mythologie grecque» (Actes-Sud). Leipziger Buchmesse Running almost concurrently, March 20-23, is the Leipzig Book Fair, where Greece will be present for the 24th time. POEB has organized the Greek stand, and will jointly run book presentations with the neighboring stands from Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus. The Greek Culture Foundation of Berlin has organized events with the participation of three Greek writers, Lena Livani, Pavlos Matessis and Ioanna Karystiani, and EKEBI has arranged a poetry reading by Nikos Papandreou, who will read from his book «Time Thief» (Kastaniotis).

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