Israelis and Greeks meet

An upsurge in new translations from Greek to Hebrew and Hebrew to Greek has sparked interest, leading to a three-day meeting of Greek and Israeli writers in Kalamata, from January 16 to 18. This is expected to be the first of a series of cultural exchanges between Greek and Israeli intellectuals. Kalamata was a symbolic choice of venue as a historic city on the shores of the Mediterranean, the sea that forms the point of contact for the histories and civilizations of both countries. Taking its title from a line of verse by George Seferis, «Our words are the children of many people,» the meeting covers four themes: history, collective identity, and the meaning of the «other» in Greek and Israeli literature; past and present: tradition compared with current events as a source of inspiration for the writer; approach: translating from Hebrew into Greek and the reverse; and the new generation: the role of literature in the creation of a new reality. Greece will be represented by novelists Costas Akrivos, Thanassis Valtinos, Rhea Galanaki, Lena Divani, Takis Theodoropoulos, Pavlos Matessis and Thanassis Heimonas, and poets Haris Vlavianos and Dimitris Houliarakis. Israel will be represented by novelists Abraham B. Yehoshua, Batya Gur, Etgar Keret, Alona Kimhi and Dorit Rabinian and poets Rami Sa’ari and Amir Or. Also participating are translators Yehiel Kimhi, Maggie Cohen, Chryssoula Papadopoulou, Yacov Shimbi and Amir Zuckerman. Journalist Yaron Enosh will be the moderator. The National Book Center of Greece (EKEBI), the Israeli Institute for the translation of Hebrew Literature, and publishers Kastaniotis and Psychogios organized the meeting with the support of the Kalamata Municipality and the Israeli Embassy in Athens.

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