Maria Papayanni

Maria Papayanni was born in 1964 in Larissa, Greece. She studied Greek Language and Literature in Thessaloniki. She has worked as a journalist for newspapers, radio and television, and writes books for children and young adults.

Her début was the picture book »âKalinichta, mama«á (2001; t: Good night, Mama), in which little Matina tries to win some more time before the last goodnight to her mother. Her widely acclaimed book »âOs dia mageias«á (2006; t: As if by magic) is about Eva, who realises that her mother Mantalena is very different from other mothers. Mantalena has fiery red hair, loves nature, talks to animals and plants and believes in fairy-tales and legends. Her dad says that Mantalena simply picked the wrong time to be born. »âOs dia mageias«á is a magical children’s book about the power of imagination, the surprises life can hold in store and an extraordinary family. Her book »âTo dentro to monacho«á (2010; t: The lonely tree), which was again extremely well-received by Greek reviewers, is the story of Violeta. She returns to her hometown after a long absence where she lives in a tumbledown old house at the edge of the village, in total isolation and cut-off by the villagers. When one day the collection of offerings vanishes from the church with no explanation, suspicion immediately falls on Violeta. Only Simos, a young adult, believes her to be innocent. When his friends hatch a plot to expose Violeta as a witch, he must decide whose side to take. Maria Papayanni uses techniques of magic realism in this book, incorporating elements of myth and fairy-tale, and again demonstrates her great storytelling talents. Her characters are impressive and she repeatedly draws parallels between contemporary Greek society and tradition.

Several of Maria Papayanni’s books have been adapted for the stage as plays or musicals. She also writes libretti for concert performances. She has won numerous awards for her literary work, including the Children’s Book Award of the Greek section of the IBBY and the Greek National Prize for Youth Literature. Her books have not yet been translated into German. Maria Papayanni lives with her husband and their two children in Athens.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin