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Spotlight Finally Shines on Cypriot-Australian Poet Koraly Dimitriadis

February 13, 2023

ATHENS – Gradually, women writers, musicians, and artists around the world are getting the recognition they deserve. Among them is Koraly Dimitriadis, a Cypriot-Australian poet, writer, actor and performer, who was spotlighted on Artshub.com.au by Amra Pajalić.

According to the bio for her article on the website, “Pajalić is an award-winning author, editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who, like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She is also the owner and publisher of Pishukin Press, an independent press that publishes underrepresented authors in fiction and nonfiction.”

In her article titled, ‘How ethnic female artists are ringing their own bells’, she notes that Dimitriadis “has published her bestselling poetry book Love and F**k Poems with her own publishing company, Outside the Box Press, and it has been translated into Greek with European, English and Greek rights sold in 2015 to Honest Publishing (UK).”

Dimitriadis’ poetry book was about liberating “myself from the shackles of my culture, marriage and religion,” she explains. “I naively expected that the arts would be my liberator, my expression at the forefront of my arts practice,” Dimitriadis said, continuing, “I soon realised that one must be on their best behaviour to get ahead. But at that time, I was still finding myself after years of repression and living in a cultural bubble. I wanted to say what I wanted to say and people didn’t like it.”

Pajalić notes that Dimitriadis “created her own opportunities by first publishing her poetry collection as a zine,” and the latter said, “it was reported [that it was] Readings’ bestselling poetry book in 2013 and, even after selling thousands of copies, I couldn’t get my next poetry book published so I self-published that too.”

“I created my own opportunities,” Dimitriadis said. “I have had some really cool things happen, but that’s because I worked hard for those things, not because I kissed the arse of a gatekeeper and they opened the door for me. When I was trying to leave my marriage, I had no role models to look up to, and I thought I was abnormal. When people tell me I have helped them, that is success… In my new reincarnation as a small press owner, I am focused on helping promote literacy by creating accessible texts and in publishing underrepresented authors and helping them find a voice.”

Dimitriadis has found funding “difficult to access in my career… As a dual citizen, I have found accessing funding in Cyprus much simpler. The process isn’t cumbersome, and assessors are not artists, or people with positions of power in the industry like Australia, where there is a huge amount of bias. Now we are seeing specific panels, like the disability panel in Creative Victoria, which is a step in the right direction. But if we know there is a shortage of working class, ethnic women in literature, for example, why isn’t there a specific panel for that? Or for single mothers? That tells me the Australia Council is not serious about a diverse arts sector reflective of Australian culture.”

Pajalić notes also that, “Dimitriadis is surprised that even though Australia has one of the biggest Greek and Cypriot diaspora in the world,” the latter saying, “if you look at our writers’ festivals, for example, you see Greek men in fiction, but where are the Greek women? I don’t believe a Cypriot has been published by a mainstream publisher; we are not the same as Greeks… There’s a lot of discrimination going on, and it’s not good enough. Ethnic women shouldn’t be sidelined, they should be supported by the industry.”

Dimitriadis finds strength, however, in “being as vocal as I possibly can about issues that affect Greek/Cypriot women, even when I know that people either love what I do or hate what I do – there is no middle ground with me, I’ve noticed.”

When Pajalić asked her what advice she had to share with women from a NESB (non English speaking background), Dimitriadis said, “be yourself, live life the way you want to live it, and don’t give a f**k about anyone. Life is too short.”

(Material from Artshub.com.au was used in this article)


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