Filippos Mandilaras

Filippos Mandilaras was born in Athens in 1965. He studied literature, French and creative writing at the Sorbonne in Paris and began writing when he returned to Greece. Initially writing exclusively for children, in 2004 he began writing novels for young adults as well.

Among his best-known books for young readers is the children’s novel »Drakomanía« (2007). In it Mandilaras tells the story of an ant who discovers what it imagines to be a dragon egg and rushed to spread the news in the animal kingdom, unleashing an unexpected chain of events. »Drakomanía« is a confidently written, profound yet also humorous parable on the mechanisms of superstition, fear and rumour in which Mandilaras examines how those in power, continually, calculatingly use the fear of the powerless to their own ends. His novel »Ýaines« (2010; tr: Hyenas) is among the most significant works for young adults. Set in a bankrupt Greece, it tells the story of 16-year-old Martha who, homeless and penniless, is left to her own devices, forced to survive from one day to the next in an Athens which has descended into chaos. She walks aimlessly through the city, stays with strangers, breaks into houses and finally, on a journey which proves as painful as it is liberating, discovers herself. »Ýaines« is a dystopian coming-of-age novel which depicts a city where authority has collapsed and whose inhabitants seem oblivious to everything but their own instincts. Here Mandilaras has delivered an impressive novel about growing up and the Greek crisis, and much more besides. »Ýaines« is the mid-point in the »Street trilogy« which otherwise encompasses »Kapou n’anikeis« (2010; tr: Somewhere to belong), and »Zoi san asanser« (2012; tr: The elevator life). Among his other works are a 26-volume series of picture books drawing on ancient Greek mythology as well as an eleven-volume picture book series which describes major events in Greek history.

Along with his own writing, Mandilaras has translated several hundred books for young readers into Greek. He also has a number of scientific texts to his name, dealing with such topics as legendary creatures in the Greek folk and Greek Surrealism. To date Mandilaras has written more than 60 books for young readers, as well as five novels, a collection of stories and a play all targeted at young adults. He has received various awards for both his own writing and his translations. These include the Greek National Prize for Literature for Young People (2014), which confirmed Mandilaras as one of the most significant contemporary authors of literature for young readers. Mandilaras lives with his family on Chios.