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Literature

Beatrice Saias Magrizou – Igniting Children’s Minds and Souls

March 13, 2021

Beatrice Saias Magrizou, a multitalented writer and creator of stories with exceptional messages to share on life and social issues, writing from her heart and guiding her readers to planets and places unknown to them. She travels both with the wings of the soul those that traverse the sky with original stories that stay imprinted in her readers’ hearts.

She was born in Thessaloniki and lives in Larissa, Greece and is married and has a daughter. She studied Economics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and her literary works include: To Polyxeni (1996), Nestoras that Tori she called him (1997), Fatal Coincidence (20020, The bracelet of fire (2006), published by Kastaniotis Publications; The dream (2020).

Theatrical works include: The Dowry (2000), which won a state award; The Common Budget (2001), The Last Stitch (20070, The Moon in the Back Yard (2019), and Le Haim-In Life (2000), performed by Antigoni Valakou and Petros Fyssoun.

Magrizou contributed to the book Youngsters in the Years of Nazi Occupation, published by the General Secretariat of Youth-2008 and she produced and presented a weekly literary radio program named Untitled Stories on the Larissa Municipal Radio station. She also wrote the scenario for the film Abraham-Alberto that was presented in Thessaloniki in 2006 as part of the Memorial for the victims of the Holocaust. In 2013, The Dowry became a theatrical play directed by Fotis Makris and Kleopatra Tologgou with Stella Papadimitriou and it is still performed today and for many years she was active in writing innovative stories for Preschool age children. 

The National Herald: How did you start writing children’s books?

Beatrice Saias Magrizou: I have started by writing literature for theater and adults for over 20 years now. So far, four of my novels have been published. When one of my friends lost her son Victor, she suggested I write a story about him. After some time my book, The Prince of Planet Victor, was published by Diaplasi House with Aimilia’s Kontaiou illustrations. Another one followed for younger kids under the title Victor the Traveller of the Sky. Since then I write, narrate, and dramatize fairytales that I have in my mind.

TNH: Which book is the one that influenced you in starting writing?

BM: Hector Malot’s Sans Famille has touched me deeply, since my teen years. My middle-grade novel With the Soul’s Wings, which has a 13-year-old girl with mobility issues as the heroine, was published by Aristareti House. It has received great attention at schools since it helps teachers to talk to students about this sensitive issue.

TNH: How long does it take you to write a book?

BM: I start writing when I know what my topic is about. The process may take a long time, so once I start writing the book finishes relatively quickly, unless the hero leads me to another path. This has happened to me and took me more time to finish the story but I enjoyed it because the plot got better. I need six months to finish a book.

TNH: Which is the source of your inspiration when writing a book? 

BM: Various sources inspire me from time to time. Social issues, mostly, offer food for thought and touch my soul. But what ignites writing is a simple phrase that will be imprinted on my mind. That’s how I wrote the theatrical play The Dowry, referring to a 60-year-old spinster, who opens the chest with her dowry and recalls the past.

TNH: How do you ensure a picture book lends itself well to being read aloud?

BM: The most essential ingredient is the one that incites the reader’s interest, having a quick-paced plot, offering indirect messages, without incorporating unnecessary info in the text. In other words, the reader needs to have a book in his hands that he doesn’t want to put down

TNH: Do your heroes lead your way through the story or do you decide about their fate? 

BM: I usually lead my heroes but in my last book the heroine guided my writing and the plot.

TNH: How do you connect with your little readers and the writing community in general?

BM: I am often invited to schools and kindergartens to talk about my stories through storytelling techniques, to talk about the joy of writing, and other issues that occupy kids. The whole experience is rewarding because kids love it and I enjoy it, too! It is a mutual relationship, this connection with kids, guided by love.

TNH: Children's books get the message across regarding social issues. Which is your goal in writing your stories? 

BM: My prime goal is for the reader to have a great time, and I am not referring to an enjoyable-humorous topic. What I mean is to attract their interest, evoking in them agony or even fear, while getting the messages across so they are entering the heroes’ world.

TNH: Which are the Greek children’s books you wish you had written?

BM: Those of Sophia Zarampouka and of course the ones written by the innovative wordsmith, the writer Evgenios Trivizas.

TNH: Which are the most recent books you have published? 

BM: My recent book The Wings of Hope is an adventure book that brings many questions to the minds of young readers. It is written with great sensitivity, referring to various issues that attract the young. Truth, acceptance, and the soul’s strength dominate in its pages. The plot is quick and sensitizes the readers. Eva Kampa faces serious mobility issues dreaming to become a ballerina. Society isn’t ready to accept people like her. On a June night of 1988 she and her friends are kidnapped. What is the connection with the Nazi war criminal Adolf Horvart? What is the role of a precious ruby? How will this thriller end? This book is about the Holocaust, an issue that really touches me, since my father was in a concentration camp and a survivor of the Nazi occupation.

TNH: What's coming up next for you?

BM: I am working on turning my fairy tale The Prince of Planet Victor into a musical. The whole fairy tale is transformed into lyrics by me. It is an interesting endeavor which I started after being motivated by the Greek composer, Stefanos Korkolis. Ι also wrote the book The Dream with Ifigeneia Sdoukou’s illustrations that will be published by the Food Bank of Thessaly with the goal of spreading a message on solidarity, dignity, and the acceptance of diversity.

TNH: Do you have any advice for aspiring picture-book authors?

BM: In my view, apart form talent the most vital substance, the writings, need to be characterized by Love and Truth. The children understand if there is truthfulness regarding what we write and if we are writing with pure love towards them.

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