CULTURE

Edmund Keeley is first recipient of Gennadius award

The Gennadius Library is to institute an annual award to honor a personality who has made a considerable contribution to spreading Greek education and culture. The award will be made at an official dinner to honor the recipient, who this year is the distinguished writer and scholar Edmund Keeley. The inaugural presentation of the award will take place on Tuesday, June 10 at 8.30 p.m. in the library’s historic reading room. The news came from Eleni Filonos, wife of a former Greek ambassador to the US, who is herself a member of the board of trustees. Keeley is the perfect choice for the first award. He has devoted his life and his work – including poetry, novels, translations and essays – to Hellenism. He recently wrote a book about his 30-year friendship with Greece’s first Nobel laureate, George Seferis, whose poetry he has translated, and who donated his personal archive to the Gennadius. The library, a treasury of rare books, manuscripts and works of art, opened in 1926. In recent years, an ambitious program of renovation and expansion has been under way, so that the library can take its place among the important centers of the world that are dedicated to the Greek cultural heritage. Keeley, whose brother Robert was once US ambassador in Athens, is professor emeritus at Princeton University, a member of the Athens Academy, and has won many awards in the US, Greece and elsewhere. He is without doubt the most appropriate person to receive the first of these awards. It is generally accepted that he has done more than any other contemporary writer to make modern Greek writing known to the English-speaking public. The invitation to the event, at which Keeley will recite Seferis’s poetry, is signed by Dr Catherine deGrazia Vanderpool, president, and Dr Haris Kalliga, director of the library.