NEW YORK – The Athenians Society hosted its “Second Book Exposition of Hellenic Writers of the Diaspora in Celebration of Geek Independence Day” on March 22.
Almost two dozen authors – poets, novelists, playwrights and nonfiction writers – presented their work and established relationships with one another, which was one of the organizers’ aims.
Before and after the readings guest at the Petros Patridis Cultural Center of the St. Demetrios Cathedral guests chatted with the authors and examined the hundreds of books at publishers’ tables.
Elizabeth Tsoumaka presented the authors and Panos Adamopoulos, the Society’s president, whose four-year tenure will soon some to an end, praised and thanked all the volunteers who contributed to the success of the Society’s cultural and philanthropic endeavors.
During the past three years the society has donated $50,000 to philanthropic institutions in Greece “thanks to the generosity of members and friends of the society, Adamopoulos said.
He thanked the members and the Board for their support and urged them to continue his initiatives and looks forward to watching the Society attain greater heights. Adamopoulos emphasized to TNH that trust and unity are the vital elements that will propel the community forward.
Nonfiction was represented by the book Twentieth Century Janisssary, the culmination of research and a life long journey of Dionysios Dionou to learn the truth about his own life. He was one of reportedly 100,00 Greek children sold on the black market after WWII, allegedly often with the connivance of government officials.
He said “the book reads like a thriller, but it’s all true.”
The readers included: Nicholas Alexiou, Irene Archolekas, Sevasti Boutos, Andreas George, Michalis Ignatiou, Georgos Karteris, Dionyisis Kontarinis, Vana Kontomerkou, Pauline Manos, Maria Michailides, Dimitris Moustakis, Tasos Mouzakis, Gabriel Panagiousoulis, Louiza Patsis, Jim Siolas, TNH travel contributor Aurelia Smeltz, Olympia Spanos, Aspa Papakonstantinou-Trigonis, Nick Zavolas, and Thei Zerva.
Adamopoulos told TNH he is very proud of the Society’s cultural programming during his tenure. “The promotion of the Greek language is a primary aim of the Society and Adamopoulos explained that apropos of the upcoming celebration of Greek Independence Day, the exposition was dedicated to the “Kryfo Scholio” the secret Greek schools under Ottoman rule and featured a lecture by Christopher Tripoulas, educator and TNH columnist.
Tripoulas cited contemporary research and historical writings to counter the negative stance on the topic by revisionist writers.
Among Tripoulas’ points is that one cannot rely on the fact no written orders from sultans have survived given the fact that local Turkish authorities had considerable leeway in how they treated the non-Moslem population. The absence of persecution in certain regions is not proof against testimony about other parts of the empire.
Amb. George Iliopoulos and Manos Koubarakis, Consul General and Consul of Greece respectively, who marched in Philadelphia’s Greek parade, were represented by Lt. Colonel Maria Bouliakoudi. She conveyed their greetings and congratulated the Society and the authors, and she expressed her joy “to meet people who strive to keep Hellenism alive so far from the homeland.”
Participating publishers and booksellers included Greece in Print, Hellenic Book Club, Libraire Ancienne Cerat Athens, Pella Publishing and The National Herald.
Adamopoulos acknowledged the fife long contributions of Pella’s founder, Leandros Papathanasiou, and thanked him for donating a copy of most of the books published through the years to the Society’s library at the Greek Press Office.
Among those who worked to make the event a success were Constantine Adamopoulos, Zan Manos, Athena Lazaridis, Christina Skiadas and Sylvia Adamopoulos.
After the readings there was a light reception and Serafim Lazos, guitarist and singer delighted the guests with a concert.
On May 14 the Society will present a fundraising concert in Athens for the charity organization “Mazi gia to paidi – Together for the children” at the Megaron concert hall in Athens by Athena Adamopoulos.