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Literature

Greek-American Apollo Papafrangou’s Latest Novel

November 20, 2021

In recent years, many up and coming Greek-American authors have released a great number of books in practically all genres. We Grew Here by Apollo Papafrangou is the author’s latest novel, set to be released on November 27, published by Nomadic Press.

The Oakland, California-based Greek-American writer has roots in the Peloponnese and Mytilene, Lesvos. He told The National Herald in a previous interview: “My father, a Greek native, is from Ermioni, a small seaside town in the Argos region of the Peloponnese… My mother is first generation Greek-American. My yiayia immigrated from Kranidi, another town in the Peloponnese, and my papou came from Mytilene, Lesvos.”

Papafrangou’s debut novel, Wings of Wax was a finalist in the Multicultural Fiction category at the 2017 American Book Festival Awards. His latest, We Grew Here, is a novel comprised of interconnected stories, “illuminating the Greek-American experience one story at a time,” Papafrangou said via email.

According to the book’s description: “From the depths of Oakland’s rocky soil, fertile ground once rich with soul and prowled by Panthers, comes this defiant mantra of rhyme and reason. In the interconnected stories comprising We Grew Here, one journeys through the deep-rooted, diverse communities of this colorful bayside city of trendsetters and go-getters. Amid the timely battle for The Town’s future, transplants and locals collide for a prime space to call home. The cunning guides on this adventure-from-the-headlines are childhood friends, and Oakland Greeks, Pete and Alex— hustling in pursuit of the artist’s life. Rife with vibrant prose and dialogue true to the mystique of ‘Oakland cool,’ We Grew Here is a commanding novel-in-stories from hometown author, Apollo Papafrangou.”

The novel highlights Papafrangou’s skill in creating strong characters and expressing his unique voice and experience as a Greek-American and as a native of such a diverse city as Oakland. His work is thoughtful and thought-provoking as he explores themes of gentrification and identity with his characteristic touches of humor and emotion.

“Meanwhile, I was recently a featured author in the Pan Hellenic Festival for the Creative & Performing Arts; a virtual gathering of Greek writers, artists, and performers from around the globe,” Papafrangou said via email, noting that an exclusive snippet from We Grew Here read during the festival is available online: https://bit.ly/WeGrewHereAudio.

Video from the festival is also available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/AIlVR4VJPTI.

Papafrangou also invited everyone to attend the Virtual Book Launch for We Grew Here, coinciding with the release date of the book on Saturday, November 27, 6-8 PM PST, in celebration of his new novel. The event includes performances by Papafrangou and by a host of hand-picked local talent including Oakland Poet Laureate Ayodele Nzinga and California Book Award Nominee Keenan Norris. Join the Virtual Book Launch event via the Zoom link: https://bit.ly/3Ftut1r.

“Thank you for supporting my work. It means the world,” Papafrangou said.

We Grew Here by Apollo Papafrangou is available online via this secure link: https://bit.ly/APwgh.

It should also be noted that $1 from every book sale goes to the Nomadic Press Black Writers Fund.

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