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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 October 2015
12 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 OCTOBER 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Letters from Local award-winning author Peter Papathanasiou joins prestigious artists to attribute the inexhaustible Hellenic creativity NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU A Greek Australian writer has joined the list of prestigious artists, including a New York Times photographer, contributing to The Pigeonhole's Letters from Greece series launching on 9 November 2015. “It was an honour to be asked to write about Greece, the country of my birth, and Florina, the town in which I was born,” says Peter Papathanasiou. Letters from Greece is the third ‘Letters from ...’ essay series from The Pigeonhole, a digital publisher based in London and Berlin. It follows on from the overwhelming success of Letters from Africa and Letters from Berlin. Each of the ten essays focuses on different themes - from Athenian artists' responses to the economic crisis to the quirks and paradoxes of rural life in northern Greece, which was Papathanasiou's focus. “Situated deep in the mountains of northern Greece, Florina is a relatively unknown part of the country,” Papathanasiou said. “Unlike the idyllic islands or the busy capital, it sees very little tourist trade, but is a hidden gem.” In winter, the temperature in Florina plummets to minus twenty, and snowfalls are heavy. “Like Australia, snow is not something most people associate with Greece,” he said. According to the most , recent Australian census, Melbourne has the largest Greek population of any city in the world outside of Greece, and ranks third behind Athens and Thessaloniki for its ethnic Greek population. Papathanasiou, who was christened Panagiotis, identifies himself as equally Greek and Australian. “Look at my face and I'm Greek,” he said. “Hear me speak and I'm Australian.” Athens-based literary agent Evangelia Avloniti curated and introduces Letters from Greece. She studied art, archaeology, and literary translation at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University College London, and the European Translation Centre, and began her career at Sotheby's in London. “During one of Greece's moments of greatest limbo - at the very height of the post-referendum madness in July 2015 - I approached The Pigeonhole with the idea of a Letters from Greece series,” said Avloniti. “Greece was everywhere in the news, but, rather predictably, nearly no media story accurately reflected what it really meant to be living in Greece at that time.” Featuring an eclectic line-up of writers and photographers, Avloniti said Letters from Greece “goes far g beyond what's served up in the press to offer an intimate, compelling insight into what it's really like to be living and working in Greece today”. The New York Times photographer Eirini Vourloumis introduces a photo series of interiors of Greek ministries, which accompanies Rachel Howard's essay. Angela Dimitrakaki writes on apartment culture in Athens. Miriam Frank considers life on the quiet island of Serifos in the western Cyclades. Stella Kasdagli explores the facets of being a woman and a working mother in modern Greece. “From immigration to surfing, corruption to dating, the essays showcase the real Greece,” said Avloniti. “We reveal the creativity and energy surviving the depths of the Greek crisis.” Having been impressed by the unpublished manuscript of one of Papathanasiou's novels in 2014, Avloniti approached him to write about Florina for Letters from Greece. In 2015, he signed with London-based literary agency Rogers, Coleridge & White, and now divides his time between Australia, England and Greece. Papathanasiou was born in Greece in June 1974 but was adopted as a baby by a family in ti 1 in Australia. The timing of his birth came o after the 1974 Cypriot coup d'état which s sought to annex the island to Greece. ti only a month before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus was launched on 20 July. This came a “I was due to leave for Australia around the time of the coup, but Greece went into lockdown Papathanasiou’s grandfather Vasilios with his two grandsons. View from the writer’s Florina house in the summer.
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