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An introduction to a famous Greek author “Alki Zei”

Alki Zei

When learning Greek, or any other new language, it is a good idea to also start reading novels, while learning more about the culture and history. Here below, we will present the author Alki Zei.

Alki Zei is a Greek writer. She has been awarded for her work by the Academy of Athens, while her books have been translated into 20 languages.

Her life
Alki Zei was born in Athens and spent her first childhood in Samos, where her mother came from. When she started her school, her family settled first in Maroussi (North Athens, where also the Omilo school is located) and then in centre Athens.
She studied at the School of Philosophy of the University of Athens, at the Drama School of the Athens Conservatory and at the Film Institute of Moscow.
She started writing from her high school years. She wrote pieces for the puppet theater, short stories and novels, published in various literary journals. Along with writing, she actively campaigned for democracy, participating in the left-wing movement since the German occupation in Greece.

Her work
Alki Zei’s books are mainly intended for children and adolescents, but they are also pleasantly read by adults. Characteristics of her writing are the linguistic excellence, the critical attitude and the humor. Both Greek and foreign readers have loved her work. Many of her books, also translated into other languages, have become Best Seller.
For example, the following books are among the timeless best sellers of modern Greek literature.

Achilles’ fiancée (1987) – Η αρραβωνιαστικιά του Αχιλλέα

Wildcat under glass (1963) – Το καπλάνι της βιτρίνας

Petros’ war (1971) – Ο μεγάλος περίπατος του Πέτρου

Other book titles:
With a Faber number two pencil (2013), Uncle Platon (1975), The purple umbrella (1995), Granddad the liar (1992) (also on ET1 TV-Greek public television as series in 2008-2009 in series on ET1 – Greek public television).

Below you can read the summaries of three of her books.

Granddad the liar
The grandfather, a retired actor, around the age of eighty, full of emotions, knowledge and experience, stimulates Anthony’s imagination with the stories he tells him about his life. All the stories seem so exaggerated and incredible that the grandson wonders: true or lies?

With  a Faber number two pencil
Alki Zei narrates the story of the years of her youth, which have determined her future path. A whole era revives in her exciting narration, animated by the presence of famous Greek personalities of the arts and literature. With this book she reveals everything about herself, the time she lived and the people she met.

Petros’ war
Petros, a nine year old boy, is very sad because his cricket is dead. His elder sister, Antigone, wants to give him the box of her bracelet for burying it. Petros prefers to squeeze it in the crevice of the girder. But he didn’t have the time. The next morning he was waken up abruptly by his mother. “Wake up and get ready. There is war! Can’t you listen to the sirens?” It was the 28th of October 1940. Young Petros lives the war, occupation and resistance together with his parents, his sister, his grandfather and his turtle, Theodore. We follow him in his long walk with all the real adventures that take place between October 1940 and October 1944, when Greece was liberated.

We hope you will soon read one of the above-mentioned books.

Note: if you are at the beginners stage of learning Greek, but you also would like to start reading, then we can recommend to start with an Easy Reader “Lydia, a summer in Greece”,for the A1-A2 levels, written by Omilo teachers Konstantinos Oikonomou and Terpsi Gavala. For more info, click here.