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Members of the Athenians’ Society Board, the artists who performed in the musical portion of the program, and Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Konstantinou at the Fourth Book Exposition of Hellenic Writers of the Diaspora on March 18 at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)
ASTORIA – The Athenians’ Society of New York in collaboration with the Greek American Writers League, Queens College, and the Hellenic American Project (HAP) on March 18 at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria presented the Fourth Book Exposition of Hellenic Writers of the Diaspora commemorating Greek Independence Day, March 25, 1821. Writers and authors shared their works at the event which also celebrated World Poetry Day, March 21, established by UNESCO in 1999. The live musical performance featured 10 classic songs associated with March 25th presented by the gifted artists Cyprus New York Productions Musical Director Phyto Stratis, vocalists Ariadne Anna, Aggeliki Psoni, Alexandros Darna, Tasos Karydis, with Glafkos Kontemeniotis on piano, Kostas Psarros on bouzouki, and Athena Adamopoulos on piano.
Athenians’ Society President Panos Adamopoulos gave the welcoming remarks noting what an honor and joy it was to have the writers with us to present their works and thanked them warmly on behalf of the Athenians’ Society of New York Board. He noted that many people worked extremely hard to organize the event, especially the Board members whom he congratulated and called to join him onstage to be recognized for their efforts.
Adamopoulos then introduced Fani Pagoulatou who served as moderator and introduced each of the speakers. First up was Avgi Atmatzidou who read a poem of her own about domestic violence against women and then, in honor of 1821, read from a letter by Manto Mavrogenous. Next, since she had another event to attend, Athena Kromidas gave her informative presentation on the historical novel Loukis Laras by Demetrios Vikelas, titled ‘The Beginning of the Modern Greek Novel.’
Nikos Zavolas read from his book ‘Maskes’ (Masks), not to do with the pandemic, he noted. He has participated in all four of the Athenians’ Society’s Expositions of Hellenic Writers of the Diaspora.
Vana Kontomerkos read from a book she is currently writing while Maria Micheles read a piece about her late parents and a poem she wrote about the Greek Independence Parade.
Tasos Mouzakis, founding member and current President of the Greek-American Literary Society and Vice President of the Athenians’ Society of New York, then read his poetry. He was later presented with the Athenians’ Society’s award in honor of his writing.
Sevi Boutos, before reading her poems, mentioned the Greek-American writers who are no longer with us, and began with a poem about Regina Pagoulatos.
Maria Nikolis noted that she is a new writer and shared her children’s books which began as stories she told her granddaughter. During the pandemic, she found the time to write the stories down for publication.
Gabriel Panagiosoulis joked that he waited 10 years for the invitation to return to the Exposition, having participated in the first one a decade ago. He read from ‘Selides’ (Pages) which describes his writing process.
Aspa Papakonstantinou-Trigonis, an Athens native who now resides in Bridgeport, CT, then read her poems.
Maria Olon Tsaroucha, an actress and author, read from her book ‘SupraConscious? The Genius within You: How to Experience Your Infinite Potential and Master Ultimate Performances Every Single Moment on Stage and in Life.’
Justine Frangouli-Argyris, a native of Lefkada working in Montreal, Canada, since 1989 as a journalist for the Athens News Agency, noted that she is inspired by real life. She read an excerpt from her book ‘I Trikimia’ about a romance between a Greek-Canadian woman and a Greek man.
HAP Director, Professor Nicholas Alexiou of Queens College gave a presentation on poetry and Hellenic culture and read from the works of some Greek-American poets whose books are among those in the archive and certainly deserve more recognition and study.
Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Konstantinou was among those present and shared his greetings, noting that in his seven months as Consul General he has attended many events hosted by various organizations and associations, but this was the first he attended hosted by the association that represents the place where he was born and raised, Athens. In his remarks, he pointed out that “the Greek language and culture are our soul, our true passport for maintaining Greek identity for all Greeks no matter how far away from Greece they live.”
Adamopoulos noted that the event is part of the Athenians’ Society’s efforts to promote Hellenic culture and bring together the Hellenic-American community.
“I would like to thank all the Board members from the bottom of my heart and I am extremely appreciative of all the work they do,” he said. “I am humbled and honored to be at the head of the Athenians’ Society and I want to thank them for their support, dedication, and their constant commitment.”
“It’s an honor to have all these writers with us,” he said.
A reception followed the presentation where attendees had the opportunity to congratulate the organizers and the writers and also purchase books.
ATHENS – On Saturday, June 24, one day before the official date of the national elections that will be held in Greece on June 25, expatriates everywhere who are registered in the special electoral rolls and have the right to vote from their place of residence will go to the polls.
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