Greece Guest of Honour at the Cairo International Book Fair

January 26- February 7, 2022

Hellenic Foundation for Culture / Ministry of Culture and Sports

The 53rd Cairo International Book Fair will take place from January 26 to February 7, 2022 at the International Exhibition Center of Egypt, with Greece being the honored country. It is the largest and oldest book fair in the Arab world, organized by the General Egyptian Book Organization, with 1,200 publishers from 125 countries and more than 2 million visitors.

This honorary participation fully confirms the excellent bilateral multilevel relations between Greece and Egypt and is an important opportunity for the Arabic-speaking public to get to know better both classical and modern Greek literary production and its creators. At the same time, it offers the opportunity in Greek letters to approach works of Arabic poetry and literature, through the existing and emerging possibilities of cooperation between the Greek and Arabic publishing entrepreneurship.

Aspects of modern publishing production and Greek culture in general will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the visitors of Greek Pavilion, which will host publications of selected thematic units, such as: State Prizes for Literature and State Prizes for Children’s Book 2020, publications of museums and cultural institutions titles of Greek books translated into Arabic, publications related to the work and life of K.P. Cavafy in Arabic, Greek and other languages, graphic novels and comics, publications of the Greek communities of Egypt, etc.

Special emphasis will be given to the promotion of the new GreekLit translation program which has already joined the European Network ENLIT- European Network for Literary Translation and will be officially presented in the Arabic book market in collaboration with the Book Organization and the Egyptian Translation Center. Representatives of Greek publishers participate in the Greek delegation, at the invitation of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and the Association of Egyptian Publishers.

The book-loving public will also have the opportunity to get to know Greek authors whose books have recently been translated in Egypt, namely: Persa Koumoutsi with the book “Alexandrian Voices”, Amanda Michalopoulou with the book “How I Killed My Best Girlfriend”, Dimitris Sotakis with the book “The Resurrection of Michael Jackson” and Alexandros Kitroev with the book “ The Greeks and the Making of Modern Egypt”. The presentation of their books is being made in collaboration with the translators and Egypt publishers.

The rich and multidisciplinary cultural program of Greece as an honored country also includes:

-Tribute to the great Alexandrian poet K.P. Cavafy, which includes more than 50 books about Cavafy in Arabic, Greek and other languages ​​as well as the presentation of the Cavafy digital archive by the Onassis Foundation. The tribute complements an art exhibition of works by contemporary artists inspired by the work and life of Cavafy, curated by Louisa Karapidaki.

– Discussion on the two-way cultural and translational relations between Greece and Egypt, from antiquity until today, and the contribution of Hellenist-translators to the spread of Greek Culture in Egypt, with the author and translator Persa Koumoutsis and the Hellenist and translator Khaled Raouf, who were recently rewarded with the Sheikh Hamad International Translation and International Understanding Award in the “Life Achievement” category – one of the most prestigious awards in the Arab world.

– Honorary event for the great thinker and writer Taha Hussein, founder of Greek studies in Egypt and throughout the Arab world.

– Discussion on contemporary classical Greek literature, on the occasion of the recent publication of the book “Comparative Greek Literature in the Light of New Critical Theories and Interdisciplinary Methods” by Dr. Hisham Darouis, Professor of Greek Language and Literature at Cairo University.

– Discussion on “The contemporary poetic landscape in Greece and Egypt” and the teaching of Greek poetry in the Department of Modern Greek Language and Literature at Cairo University.

– Educational programs for children in collaboration with the Onassis Foundation: “The insect of the sun – on the occasion of a beetle’s journey, Egyptian gods talk with the gods of Olympus” and “Little Rigas and the secret symbols of the Charter”, by the author , illustrator, performer Lida Varvarousi.

Students from Greek schools in Cairo (Ambetios and Achillopouleios School) actively participate in the program of cultural events in collaboration with the Education Coordination Office of North Africa and the Middle East, with poetry readings, translation tests of literary texts, etc.

The responsibility for the organization of the Greek participation has been taken over by the Ministry of Culture and Sports as well as the Hellenic Foundation for Culture with the support of the Greek Embassy in Cairo, while for the shaping of the cultural program, HFC collaborated with the cultural and educational institutions: Library of Alexandria, Cavafy Archive / Onassis Foundation, Greek Cultural Center of Cairo, Education Coordination Office of North Africa and the Middle East as well as the Greek Communities of Alexandria and Cairo.

Greece Guest of Honour at the Cairo International Book Fair | Press Conference

Culture Minister of Egypt, Mrs Inès Abde Daϊm and the Ambassador of Greece to Egypt, Mr. Nikolaos Garilidis participated in a press conference today regarding Greece’s participation, as the guest of honor country at the 53rd Cairo International Book Fair  (Jan.26th-Feb 2nd 2022).

The Greek participation is organised by the Ελληνικό Ίδρυμα Πολιτισμού / Hellenic Foundation for Culture and the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Ambassador Garilidis thanked Egypt for the honor to Greece, talked about the long cultural past of the two countries and informed the mass media representatives on the cultural program of the Greek participation.

Persa Koumoutsi, a writer, lietray translator and essayist, born in Cairo.  She returned to Greece after completing her studies at the Faculty of Arts of Cairo University. For the first few years he taught in Secondary and Higher Education, while from 1993 he dealt exclusively with literary translation, mainly of Arabic literature into Greek. Among the works translated from Arabic are 14 novels by the Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz as well as many works by other distinguished Arab writers and poets. Her bibliography also includes the first Anthology of Contemporary Arabic Poetry in Greek, for which she received the Award of the Hellenic Society of Literary Translators, 2017. For her translation ouvre which now amounts to over 40 titles of Arabic literatures she has was awarded the Cavafy International Prize, in 2001 and a special distinction from Department of Greek and Italian Studies at Al-Azhar University, 2015. she is also published author of eight personal novels, most of them focusing on intercultural dialogue. Her personal work has also been distinguished and a significant part of it has been translated into Arabic by the General book Organaisation, National Translation Center of Egypt and Sefsafa publications. She has collaborated with Αrabic and European universities and institues on interculturalism and dialogue education programs and has written articles, critical texts and studies and given liectures on the same topics. In  2019 she co-created  with ngo Culturepolis and now directs, the Center for Greek and Arabic Literature and Culture, KELALP  which aims to promote and strengthen the cultural ties between Greece and the Mediterranean countries with an emphasis on the Arab world, through targeted programs, billingual webinars and events, raising awareness on issues concerning contemporary Greek and Arabic literature, poetry, language, sealing  important collaborations with other cultural institutions in Greece and abroad. in 2021 she received the prestigious “Achievement Award” for its overall contribution to Literature, Translation, and International Understanding from the Qatar-based Sheikh Hamad International Organization.

Amanda Michalopoulou is the author of eight novels and three short story collections. She has been a contributing editor at Kathimerini in Greece and Tagesspiegel in Berlin. Her stories have appeared in Harvard Review, Guernica, PEN magazine, World Literature Today, Words Without Borders, Asymptote, The Guardian, Brooklyn Rail among others.
She is a winner of the Revmata Award (1994), the Diavazo Award for her novel Jantes (1996) and the Academy of Athens Prize for her short story collection “Bright Day” (2013). The American translation of her book I’d Like won the International Literature Prize by NEA in the US (2008) and the Liberis Liber Prize of the Independent Catalan Publishers (2012). Her stories and essays have been translated into twenty languages. Her novel Why I killed my best friend, was short-listed for the ALTA National Translation Award in the US (2014). Her most recent novel in translation, God’s Wife, is also short listed for the same award (2020). Her short story Mesopotamia was selected for Best European Fiction 2018 (Dalkey Archive).
She had various literary grants from the DAAD and LCB in Berlin, the Shanghai Writers Association, Edward Albee Foundation, Ledig-Rowohlt, Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation etc. She was a fellow at the Iowa International Writers Program.
She lives in Athens, Greece where she teaches creative writing.

Dimitris Sotakis was born in Athens in 1973. He has published ten novels and a collection of short stories. His books have been nominated for many literary prizes in Greece, and in 2009 he was awarded the “Athens Prize for Literature” for his novel “The Miracle of Breathing”. The same book was a candidate for the European Prize for Literature, as well as for the Jean Monet Award in France. His books are published in French, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Turkish, Serbian, Egyptian etc.

Alexander Kitroeff is Professor of History at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, where he has been teaching courses on Modern European and Mediterranean history since 1996. His research interests focus on nationalism, enthicity and identity in modern Greece and the Diaspora, across a broad spectrum, from politics to sports. His recent publications include Greek Orthodoxy in America: A Modern History (2020), The Greeks and the Making of Modern Egypt (2019). He has also collaborated with film director Maria Iliou as historical consultant in several documentary films -such as Smyrna 1922: the Destruction of a Cosmopolitan City- and more recently “Athens From East to West, 1821-1896”  the first of a 5-part series on the city’s modern history. He is currently working on an project on the history of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) to mark the organization’s centenary in 2022.

Lida Varvarousi was born in Athens, Greece. She grew up in her painter mother’s atelier. Visits to museums, art Galleries, poetry, dance, theatre, literature and traveling were a part of her everyday life since she was a little girl. She considers Degas, Matisse, Klee and Schiele also as her “teachers”. Since she was a child has a vivid, never ending passion for books. Studied in Vakalo school Art & Design. Worked as un illustrator and art director in advertising companies. Till she had her children and thought to give her Knowledge and time to them & other children too. So after illustrated 200 books and write 15 of them she felt that it was time for her stories to fly out of her books. Then she began drawing what she narrated on big surfaces of paper or on the wall!
Everybody then could seeing and feeling the magic of an ever changing, vivid story through the lines of her drawings!
So the last years she travels with her “Paintellings” in schools all over Europe for the love of the children, books & art.