House of Literature opens on Paros

A Cycladic haven for professional translators and writers has just come into being. The beautiful mountain village of Lefkes on Paros is the home of the House of Literature, an ambitious new project run jointly by the European Translation Center (EKEMEL) and the Municipality of Paros. «The dream we’ve cherished ever since EKEMEL was founded three years ago has become reality, thanks to the Municipality of Paros,» EKEMEL’s director, Catherine Velissaris, said at a press conference on Tuesday. Translators and writers from all over the world will be eligible for periods of residence lasting from two weeks up to three months, with priority going to European citizens. The new institution is the fruit of a discussion last year, when Velissaris accompanied young German and Spanish translators who were doing EKEMEL courses at the Paros Municipal Library. When she told Paros Mayor Yiannis Rangousis about the need for a permanent base outside Athens, he suggested the former Xenia Hotel in Lefkes, a peaceful village with superbly maintained neoclassical houses. Velissaris expressed the hope that the House of Literature would become «a place for work, exchanges and meetings that encourage dialogue among literatures in Europe but especially about Greek literature.» «This is a new beginning for Paros, an opportunity to move away from mass tourism to cultural tourism,» Rangousis told the press, adding that the local population fully supported the municipality’s decision to fund the expenses of the House of Literature. «Events such as the second meeting of writers and critics planned for July will not only attract visitors but also promote our culture and traditions.» Participants must have a project planned, and translators must have a contract with a publisher for a particular translation project. They must also make an undertaking to mention that their work was carried out at the House of Literature on Paros when it is published. They will also be encouraged to take part in local cultural life, attending events held at schools, libraries, and the local studio of ERT3, which covers all the Cycladic Islands. The House of Literature will operate all year round and can accommodate 14 guests. Computers and dictionaries will be available for guests. Residence is free for European citizens, while others will be charged the symbolic fee of 15 euros per day. Meals are not provided but the kitchen and dining room are at the guests’ disposal. Application forms are available from EKEMEL, 2 Lykavittou St, Athens 106-71 (tel 210.363.9520, e-mail [email protected]).

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