22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Amanda Michalopoulou

Portrait Amanda Michalopoulou
© Hartwig Klappert

Amanda Michalopoulou was born in Athens, Greece, in 1966. She studied French Literature in Athens and Journalism in Paris. In 1993, she she was awarded the Best Short Story Prize by »Revmata« literary magazine. Shortly afterwards she published her first collection of short stories, »Éxo i zoi ine políchromi« (1994; tr: Life is colourful out there). With a sharp eye for detail, she portrays situations taken from daily life, whose outcomes are often surrealistically incisive. The fantastic and disconcerting element in her work turns up also in her subsequent books, which have been translated into ten languages.

Her three novels, »Jándes« (1996; tr: Octopus garden), »Osses forés antéxis« (1998; tr: As many times as you can bear it) and »Paliókeros« (2001; tr: Bloody awful weather), form a trilogy. Her first novel, »Jándes«, which was awarded the prestigious Critics’ Prize by the literary magazine »Diavazo«, tells the story of a family of Greek chefs. In »Osses forés antéxis«, the Greek narrator passes through several European cities in search of her Czech beloved, who looks like Franz Kafka and tenderly calls her his »little beetle«. Michalopoulou incorporates eighty quotations from Kafka and numerous allusions to his life in the telling of this post-modern odyssey. Along with two of her novels, the collection of short stories »Ich mach euch den Garaus« (2002; t: I’ll finish you all off) has been translated into German. In 2008, her collection of thirteen short stories »Tha Ithela« was translated into English as »I’d Like«. The American translation was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts’ International Literature Award 2008 and included in the »Reading the World 2008« book list. It was also listed for the Best Book in Translation Prize, awarded by the University of Rochester. Recently she has published the novel »Pos na kryfteis« (2010; tr: How to hide) an adventurous road novel and a perceptive comment about the way we live now: as multi-ethnic nomads who are divided between countries, cultures and families, afraid to put down roots. That book was written in Berlin where Michalopoulou lived for seven years (2003–2010). Her most recent literary work is called »Lamperi mera« (2012; tr: Bright day) and can be read as a testimony to loss in contemporary Greece.

Michalopoulou is also the author of many children’s books. Her bilingual book, »I Hina« (2008; tr: The goose) with Greek and German texts tells the story of a family recipe which traces the German background of the writer’s husband, Dimitris Tsoumplekas. A visual artist illustrated the book with photos and various testimonies of their travels through German landscapes and through family secrets. Michalopoulou has received scholarships from the German Academic Exchange Service and the Literary Colloquium in Berlin. She lives in Athens and Paris.

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