Judging …Dreams

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Gregory Papadoyiannis is the judge of the Eyelands First International Flash Fiction Contest. The contest runs from January 20th through March 20th, 2018. The theme of the contest this year is Dreams”/ First prize: A week holiday οn the island of Crete (for 2 people)/ Three prize winners will see their story published in anthology, handmade and get gifts, and a complimentary copy of the anthology.  The contest is a collaboration through Eyelands.gr (online literature magazine) & Strange Days Books (publishing firm)

Eyelands.gr literary magazine in collaboration with Strange Days Books  organize an annual international short story competition, which is the only international short story contest based in Greece. Every year, writers from all the continents of the world participate in it. The competition consists of two categories; Greek and International (for the international section we only accept stories in English).
The competition has been running continuously for the past seven years, offering hundreds of writers the opportunity to see their short story printed in one of our collections, created through the contest entries. For many of these writers it is the first time that a story of theirs is printed in a book or featured online. The jury reads all submissions blind.
The English section of the competition has been recognized as a truly reliable, fair and serious short story competition. Every year, many reputable websites post the announcement of our contest, which has earned its reputation year after year, by honoring all its promises, following the rules meticulously and meeting all criteria that allow a contest to gain respect and recognition on an international level.

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Eyelands’ Strange Love Affairs

Happy 7th birthday to Eyelands! The team celebrates seven years since our first day among friends and the writers of our latest short story collection release. This is of course ‘’Strange Love Affairs’’, the Greek version with the shortlisted stories of the International Short Story Contest, greek section – 2017.

The collection in English with the shortlisted stories of the International section will be released with the same title in Greece and worldwide via amazon on 20th of December, 2017.

The photo was taken at Polis Art Café, where the celebration and book-launch took place last Saturday, November 25.

Eyelands’ ISSC is the one and only short story contest based in Greece. Next year there will be an Eyelands Flash Fiction Contest too for the first time.

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From the left: Apostolos Lagarias, Giannis Petrakis, Andriana Minou, Antonis Tsirikoudis and Gregory Papadoyiannis, happy anniversary people representing Eyelands.gr & Strange days books & the Sand Festival

Gregory is eyelands co-founder and editor in chief since day – one!

 

52 eyelands: a genre-busting guide to the Greek Islands

Lane Ashfeldt/Review
Writing on August 30, 2013

8.JPGI never take a guidebook on my travels. That way, I don’t have to worry about the long lists of things I need to ‘cover’ (and which, invariably, I will fail to do). But if I ever revisit the Greek Islands, I might just be packing my copy of Gregory Papadoyiannis’s genre-busting guidebook 52 eyelands.  Far from stressing you out with detailed lists, Papadoyiannis offers only the lightest touch of “must sees”. In fact, among the book’s top tips for travel is the refreshing advice to set aside all guidebooks or maps as soon as you can, and trust your instincts instead. Papadoyiannis is a Greek author, a native of the island of Crete. Although he has been visiting the Greek islands each summer for decades, he is a slow traveller, and still has a couple of dozen islands left to see.

Here’s a couple of tiny snippets from the start of his ‘sentimental journey through the Greek islands’.

Kythnos
Kythnos is not the first hat (or car) that an ordinary salesperson would bring out for you to see. He would want to show you some flashier models first, because that’s how he learnt to do things. In the same way, no travel guide for the Greek islands starts off with Kythnos – no one would even think of beginning with this island.

Milos
Milos is rather known because of a wonderful statue, Aphrodite of Milo (Venus de Milo), which ironically, you will never see in the island. You will have to go to the Louvre. Let us return to the island now. There is no space to deal with thieveries of the past.

The tone of the book is relaxed and accepting of the traveller’s lot: things may go awry from time to time, but that is to be expected. Sometimes the ferry is late and the bus driver who is paid to meet it gives up waiting and goes home to bed, and so the disembarking passengers must reach their destinations on foot. But Papadoyiannis makes light of such challenges. However bad the situation, he remains an optimist. What you must do, he seems to be saying, is keep going, and the next day you will find the good stuff.

Another positive thing about this project is, it is one of the first batch of books to be published by new Greek press, Paraxenes Meres, (Strange Days) which is just starting on its own travels – and on the strength of this book, an interesting journey may lie ahead.

Sustained throughout 52 eyelands is the voice of a travelling companion who is always careful not to tell you too much, always conscious that travel is about making choices and that since each traveller is different, each has discoveries of their own awaiting them on the islands he knows and loves so well.

At last: a no-spoilers guidebook. This could be a thing.

 

ABOUT LANE ASHFELDT
Lane Ashfeldt’s short fiction is published in literary journals in Ireland, England, Greece and the US, and in anthologies from ‘Punk Fiction’ to the rather more genteel ‘Dancing With Mr Darcy’. A collection, SaltWater, (“imaginative, fast-moving stories with satisfying endings”—The Examiner) is published by Liberties Press.

 

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Greek News Agenda*/ Interview by Athina Rossoglou

 Gregory Papadoyiannis was born in Crete in 1961. He is the writer of a novel, Sniff, a short stories collection, The city beyond the river, and a comic album, To the Almighty, hereunto. In 1991, he was awarded the national prize for young playwrights at the competition of the Ministry of Culture for his play The situations. His publications in English include 52 eyelands, ‘a sentimental guide through the Greek islands’, while his short stories have been included in anthologies both in the UK and the USA. His novel Baby Jazz is under publication by Fomite Press (U.S.A., 2017).

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He is co-founder, administrator and writer for the books & cinema section of the website www.eyelands.gr. He is the curator for the only Greece-based international short story competition titled Colours. In 2012, together with Giannis Petrakis and Kostas Malousaris, he founded Strange Days Books Publishing, a small publishing house based in Rethymno.

Gregory Papadoyiannis spoke to Reading Greece* his multifaceted career as a writer, playwright, short film director, editor and translator, and “writing as the thread that unites them all”. He comments on artistic and more specifically literary production in Greece amid the crisis, noting that there has been “a creative outburst of new theater companies… in a lesser way, in the art of film-making, which remains an expensive art, and of course in literature, where things are more complicated”.

He also explains how he decided to found Strange Days Books, seeing the crisis “as an opportunity and a challenge to do what he loves most” while he comments on the prospects of Greek literature both in Greece and abroad. “Despite all adversities Greek literature has a lot of potential especially if there is an elementary interest in book publishing by the state in the future, something which has not existed until now. We have the talent, we have the capability […] I believe that the Greek publishing production could even take advantage of the global interest in Greece that was inevitably caused during the past years and could spread some of our booksabroadmore easily. All it takes is to approach this world out there and try to learn some things from it”.

Your book Sniff recounts the history of Greece since the 1960s through the eyes of a child given in a comic yet deeply moving way, reconstructing ‘the innocence of a time that has been lost for good’. Tell us more.

σνιφ μικρότεροSniff in a few words, is the story of a child who does not want to grow up. So he remains 11 years old forever, while around him, seasons change, time keeps progressing, the trivial history of our daily actions and the official history of “grownups” continue their way. In order to talk about Sniff I would have to talk like the child who tells the story. Sniff is a toy train that takes us to our childhood. This period of time isn’t gone, it isn’t lost. We have left but we can always return to it. It is still the place where you feel fine because even nasty things can be funny and in spite of whatever happens around you when you’re there you know that you can be happy again as long as you just have a ball, or a board game or a «Blek» -magazine for kids.

You are the writer of 52 eyelands, a “sentimental guide through the Greek Islands”. How did you decide to write a travel guide? What is it that differentiates your book from other “travelling companions”?

This book differs from other travel guides because it is a travel guide based on emotions. Based on the feelings any trip to any island generates in me, and the emotions generated by each separate island because each one resembles a beloved friend of mine I meet again. I give information about the islands but I also narrate my personal adventures there, usually not very heroic ones, and I think this gives a somewhat more literary character to the guide. There is one more thing: I also write about the things that I found unpleasant in the islands, things that I don’t like seeing there, usually the results of a totally false idea of ‘development’ and attitudes that caused me distress. I believe that you do not see this often, but it is necessary to tell the truth, especially about the things you love, isn’t it?

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A playwright, a short film director, an editor and a translator. What is the binding thread?

The thread that unites them is, of course, writing. This was always what interested me the most; the way to express what you have inside your soul by telling a story. I was never particularly interested in the theory of art or literature, although inevitably I have learned things by studying in various schools. In very simplistic terms, there are two categories of people who write: those who make literature and those who tell stories. What I’m trying to be is a good storyteller, a man who tells stories. For this reason I sometimes find it more appropriate to put the characters on a theatrical stage, other times in a short story and lately I’ve been trying to create a comic book. Last time this happened I was still a student – Okay, I remained a student for a rather long time … so it hasn’t been that long since then. But everything I do is simply my way of telling stories to other children …

You are the curator for Colours*, the only Greece-based international short story competition. How do things stand as far as literary production in Greece is concerned?

For the past seven years, I’ve had the chance to read lots of stories written by young, mostly Greek authors. The situation has changed since the early years of the crisis, there are many people who have decided to turn to what they really love doing (even if this was only due to the misfortune of losing their job) and what many people love is art in all its different forms. We saw a creative outburst of new theater companies-with countless small groups producing great work in the past years, we can also see this, in a lesser way, in the art of film-making, which remains an expensive art, and of course in literature, where things are more complicated.

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It is certain that more people have been choosing to express themselves through writing in recent years but the crisis has diminished the opportunities to publish their books, as publishers –the ones that are still in business- circulate fewer books and don’t risk publishing books by young writers. This led to another strange situation: a bunch of self-publishing “opportunities” have sprung. This creates a situation where anyone can be proclaimed a writer: one only needs to know how to write -sometimes not even this. Seeing young writers who have the vanity to see their name on a book without feeling the need to have someone -anyone- read their work first worries me. They just pay (there is a cost, of course) and see their book published. This does not mean that they’ve become writers. But who dares to tell them the truth?

On the other hand, over these years in eyelands.gr and Strange Days Books, we’ve had the opportunity to read exceptional works, original texts by authors with great talent, who often struggle with the economic conditions, with a usually hostile surrounding, but also with their personal anxiety about whether their writing isworthwhile (usually they are very modest people). You cannot help but admire these people and hope that they will find their way. Very often, authors who have participated in one of our contests send emails to thank us for giving them a chance. My response is always the same: we simply do what should be taken for granted; we are just here for you. It is you and your talent that gives the opportunity to yourself; this is what opens the wayfor yourself, not us.

* Our contest theme changes annually. In 2017 the theme will be “strange love stories”

In 2012, together with Giannis Petrakis and Kostas Malousaris, you founded Strange Days, a small publishing house based in Rethymno. How did you decide to embark on such a venture especially amid the economic crisis?

I think I already answered this … through my blabbering perhaps, in the previous question. At this point let me add that Strange Days is a social cooperative publishing company that was actually founded in the first year of the crisis, (actually it was eyelands.gr we created first) and perhaps the core of the group consists of the three of us, mentioned above, but we have another five or six people who help us as much as they can and dozens who support us in several ways. So we were also one of those people who saw the crisis as an opportunity and a challenge to do what they love most. We are just a small group among the vast number of people who are trying to find a way through the difficulties of the economic crisis.

At the moment, we can say that not only have we survived but our finances are improving every year and, most importantly, we are still a team of people who love what they do. Actually, the three of us are only the core of a team that is still growing. And yet in three or four years we have managed to publish several fine books (about 50 titles), to organize Sand Festival and a Writing Workshop, a theater production and more. To be honest, sometimes this seems unbelievable to me… I think the most important thing in this kind of team-work is to learn how to disagree with your team-mates. And how to survive with them after this. This is the key, perhaps not only for publishers.

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What about the Greek book market? Which are the prospects of Greek literature both in Greece and abroad?

I find it hard to talk about such a complicated issue, even though I already have more than 35 years of work experience, in one way or another, in the publishing business. But I believe that despite all adversities Greek literature has a lot of potential especially if there is an elementary interest in book publishing by the state in the future, something which has not existed until now. We have the talent, we have the capability, we are now in close contact with what happens in the rest of the world, we even have – at least as writers- the bitter experience of a country in crisis which is something that we can make use of. We, in Strange Days Books, have already published books by young English and U.S.A. writers and we hope that soon we’ll see some of our Greek writers’ books published by publishers in England or the U.S.

I believe that the Greek publishing production could even take advantage of the global interest in Greece that was inevitably caused during the past years and could spread some of our booksabroadmore easily. All it takes is to approach this world out there and try to learn some things from it. This applies to writers and publishers and everyone. As writers we must learn how to write following some rules as it is the case in all countries with a strong literary tradition. Besides this, everyone involved with the publishing business must learn to work hard in order to achieve results; we must learn to invest in hard work instead of trying to find “shortcuts” through the use of gimmicks.

Crisis

Our feet, our roots are here and this is of special importance, and it is nice to see the bright side of it but our gaze should be directed towards the world and not towards our own navel. One of the first things we stated when we founded Strange Days Books was that we are based in a small city of Greece, and this is a fine thing, but we belong to the world and we just want to express something that belongs to our time through our books.  (Interview by Athina Rossoglou)

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ABOUT GREEK NEWS AGENDA
Greek News Agenda is an online English language platform launched by the Secretariat General for Media & Communication, Hellenic Republic. The platform offers news, analysis and interviews that showcase political, economic, business, social and cultural developments in Greece.
Greek News Agenda aims to inform the international public about developments in Greece, provide factual input to analysts and journalists, offer views on contemporary policy and intellectual debates in and about Greece, and thus foster a modern understanding about the country.
A big part of Greek News Agenda are interviews: Rethinking Greece features interviews from public intellectuals about Greece and Europe and Reading Greece features interviews with Greek writers and other stakeholders of the Greek book market while Quo Vadis Europa? examines what today lies ahead for the European Union [mainly] from a Greek point of view. Other interviews series focus on Arts in Greece, Greek Cinema, Government Policies, and Greek Think Tanks. All views expressed by the interviewees are their own and do not nessecarily represent the views of the Secretariat General for Media & Communication.
Greek News Agenda features aspire to become part of an ongoing dialogue about a country that has recently become the epicenter of multiple global crises (economic, migrant & refugee, labour) highlighting its contradictions and potential, its weaknesses and comparative advantages like its potential in human capital and R&D in a constantly changing international environment.

Sniff @ European Literature Network

The ‘EUROPEAN LITERATURE NETWORK’, is a voluntary website aimig to spread the word about European Literature, promoting good writing from Europe – and its friends. ”From Lithuania to Albania, Austria to Romania and Russia to Turkey”.

From 27th of April there ‘s an excerpt from Gregory Papadoyiannis’ novel ”Sniff”, translated in English from writer/composer Andriana Minou, at the AUTHOR PITCH page. You can see the translation sample here:

http://eurolitnetwork.com/authors-pitch-sniff-by-gregory-papadoyannis/

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