NEW YORK – The Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany David Gill along with Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras hosted a Salon with author Amanda Michalopoulou on May 2 in Manhattan.
Consul General Gill gave the welcoming remarks in German, at first, a little Greek, and then in English for the international audience assembled at his residence on Park Avenue. Consul General Koutras also made remarks in German and then in English, noting that he studied in Germany and received his PhD there.
New York Institute of Technology Professor Lissi Athanasiou-Krikelis gave a presentation on Michalopoulou and her book Baroque before the author read excerpts from the fascinating work of auto-fiction. The book begins with the author at age 50 and recounts the life story backwards with the character aging in reverse. Each chapter begins with a photo and captures the voice of each specific age from the adult to the teenager to the toddler.
When asked how long it took to write the book, Michalopoulou told The National Herald that it took four years. Her process involved yellow post-it notes all over the room, mapping out the story. She noted that once she decided to tell the story backwards, the writing flowed more easily than if she had tried to write it chronologically.
Michalopoulou also read an excerpt from her novel God’s Wife which will be published by Dalkey Archive Press in English translation and released in September.
Amanda Michalopoulou is one of Greece’s leading authors. She has published eight novels, three short story collections, and a successful series of children’s books. Michalopoulou studied French Literature and worked as a columnist for Greek newspapers for many years. She has won prestigious literary prizes, including the Academy of Athens Prize and the Diavazo Award. The English translation of her book I’d Like won the International Literature Prize from the National Endowment for the Arts. The same book was also nominated for Best Book in Translation (University of Rochester).
Most of her books were written during residences abroad as a fellowship holder – for example, in 2004 when she was participating in the Berlin Program for Artists hosted by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). While reflecting on this she said, “It feels closest to being an actress; foreign countries give me the freedom to invent other identities – and yet I cannot escape my Greek identity.”
Michalopoulou has both demonstrated a sharp eye for details in her literature as well as in her work for the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. In 2015, she depicted the everyday life of people during the years of economic crisis in Greece. Michalopoulou’s novels, stories, and essays have been translated into sixteen languages and have appeared in the Harvard Review, Guernica, World Literature Today, PEN Magazine, The Guardian among others.
Among those present at the event were Popita Pavli, Consul of Greece Lana Zochiou, Consulate of Greece in New York Cultural and Public Relations officer Evelyn Kanelleas, Greek Press Office Attache Dora Trogadi, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Chief Administrative Officer and Co-Chief Operating Officer Vasili Tsamis, President of the Hellenic Medical Society of New York Dr. Panagiotis Manolas and his wife Dr. Katerina Georgantza Manolas, Prof. Demetrios Argyriades, Hellenic American Association for Professionals in Finance President Fanny Trataros, Queens College Sociology Professor Nicholas Alexiou, Chryssa Avrami, artists Giorgos Taxidis and Lilia Ziamou, as well as many members of the community.