Something Beautiful Happened by Yvette Manessis Corporon is a work of non-fiction that tells the remarkable story of the author’s own family, history, and the present day search for the Jewish family her grandmother helped save during World War II. Out of unspeakable tragedy, the horrors of the war and Occupation, the book highlights the power of faith, hope, and kindness, as well as the need for understanding and having the courage to stand up for what is right. Yvette Manessis Corporon, a three-time Emmy Award–winning writer, author, and producer, took time out of her busy schedule to talk to The National Herald about the inspiration for the book, her family, and her upcoming projects. Her debut novel, When The Cypress Whispers (Harper, 2014), has been translated into fourteen languages and was an international bestseller. She has received the Silurian Award for Excellence in Journalism and the New York City Council and Comptroller’s Award for Greek Heritage and Culture.
When asked about the inspiration for the book, Yvette Manessis Corporon told TNH, “As a journalist, I felt an obligation to write, Something Beautiful Happened. I’ve spent my entire career telling other people’s stories. I realized that the story of my own family was just as incredible, if not more so, than all of the other stories I had heard and told through the years.”
She continued, “Our family is from Erikousa, which is a tiny island off the coast of Corfu. I grew up listening to my Yiayia’s stories about how difficult life was on Erikousa during World War II. My Pappou had left for America and Yiayia was left on Erikousa during the German occupation with two small children. She also told me how she, and other islanders, all worked together to hide and save a Jewish family from the Nazis. My first novel, When The Cypress Whispers, was inspired by my Yiayia’s stories. My new book, Something Beautiful Happened, is the real story of what happened on Erikousa during the war, and how the entire island worked together to save their Jewish friends. It is also the untold story of the Jewish Community of Corfu, who up until now, felt largely forgotten by history.”
“After years of searching for the family my Yiayia helped save, I finally found them. In June of 2014, we all met in Corfu and traveled together to Erikousa where the entire island was honored for their bravery. The island received the Award of Moral Courage from the Association of Friends of Greek Jews, and the island was also designated as a House of Life by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. Israel also issued a commemorative stamp with Erikousa on it! After the reunion and ceremony, I was approached by a friend in publishing who said I should write a book about the search and experience. Things moved quickly from there. I took a year to write the book and it will be released on September 12 by Howard Books (Simon and Schuster).”
When asked what is next for her, she said, “I am working a new novel, which like When The Cypress Whispers, is steeped in history and a little known Greek myth. I also work very closely with the family history website, MyHeritage.com. The brilliant researchers at Myheritage helped me find the family my Yiayia helped save. I am also a Senior Producer with the television show, Extra – as well as a wife and mom to two incredible teenagers and a yellow lab puppy. It’s a busy time right now! But a wonderful time.”
Yvette Manessis Corporon’s debut novel, When The Cypress Whispers (Harper, 2014), has been translated into fourteen languages and was an international bestseller. She has received the Silurian Award for Excellence in Journalism and the New York City Council and Comptroller’s Award for Greek Heritage and Culture. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.
Something Beautiful Happened by Yvette Manessis Corporon is available online and in bookstores. The book trailer is available on YouTube: