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J. Sapountzis

The Athens Prize for Literature 2008

  The Athens Prize for Literature 2008
of the Greek Journal (De)kata

sponsored by Mont Blanc

"The Athens Prize for Literature? is the first award ever designated in Greece for foreign works and a work written in Greek. Organizers have modelled some aspects of the Athens Prize after other noted awards such as the Booker Prize in Great Britain and the National Book Circle Award in the U.S.
This is the second time the Prize will be given to a work of foreign fiction translated into Greek. In 2007 it was awarded to Pierre Assoulin?s ?Hotel Lutetia? who attended the ceremony and Dimitra Kolliakos for ?Room Temperature?.

The seven contenders for the Best foreign novel award whivh was translated in 2007 are:
Martin Amis?s ?The House of Meetings,? translated by Stavros Papastavros (published by Metaichmio),
Javier Cercas?s ?The Speed of Light,? translated by Angeliki Vasilakou (Patakis), Uzodinma Iweala?s ?Beasts of No Nation,? translated by Takis Mandrakos (Papyrus), Zsuzsa Bank?s ?The Swimmer,? translated by Lena Sakali (Melani),
Sarah Waters?s ?The Night Watch,? translated by Avgoustos Korto (Kastaniotis), Andrew O?Hagan?s ?Be Near Me,? translated by Margarita Zahariadou (Polis)
Jan Henrik Swahn?s ?The Wanderers,? translated by Theofano Kaloyianni (Kedros).
The winners will be announced at 8 p.m. on June 9 by writer Yiannis Kakoulidis at Stoa Spyromiliou, Citylink in the center of Athens. A small sculpture by Thodoros accompanies each award which is of 5.000 euros plus a collective pen from Mont Blanc. The two juries are all writers.

The prize for foreign literature was awarded to Xavier Cerca?s ?Speed of light?. The author received the prize and thanked the jury and the audience ? in English! (His translator from Spanish was standing next to him).
The prize for the best Greek novel was awarded to Ioanna Bouratzopoulos, ?What Lot?s wife saw? (Lot: from the Old Statement?). The writer was born in 1968. It is her third book so far. It is a post-apocalyptic novel, taking place a few decades in the future, when Europe is half drowned by floods. Well-written, a genre not flourishing in Greece the book was a word of mouth to literal readers without reaching a wider readership. Actually no character in the novel nor any context gives to the novel any Greek locality or exoticism. Let?s say she writes exactly the opposite of Panos Karnezis or other Greek folklorists writers (even De Berniere included).

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