Greek novelist Alki Zei dies at 97

Greek novelist Alki Zei dies at 97

Much-awarded Greek novelist Alki Zei, whose work has been translated in more than 30 languages, has died at her home at the age of 97, her publisher announced. 

Her death late Thursday was announced by her publisher Nontas Papageorgiou.

Born in Athens, Zei spent her early years on the Aegean island of Samos. She went on to study philosophy at the University of Athens, drama at the Athens Conservatory and screenwriting at the Moscow Cinema Institute. Between 1954 and 1964, she lived in the then Soviet Union as a political exile together with her husband playwright Giorgos Zevastikoglou. She briefly returned to Greece before fleeing to Paris as the country succumbed to a military coup in 1967.

Her first, autobiographical, children’s novel “Wildcut under Glass,” was published in 1963. In 1987, she published her now-classic “Achilles’ Fiancee.”

In 2010 she received a lifetime achievement award by the Academy of Athens and in 2014 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. A year later, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Patra. Zei is survived by her two children, Irene and Petros.

Her funeral will take place at Athens’ First Cemetery on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his sadness at her death. “Greek literary world is poorer without her pen. Our society is society is sadder without her voice,” he tweeted as he extended his condolences to her family. 

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