Late in May and across early June Greek Australian and writers with a variety fo cultural backgrounds gathered at the Greek Centre to take part in the Greek Community of Melbourne‘s “2019 Greek Writers Festival”. From 31 May to 8 June, over 30 sessions including panel discussions, spoken word performances and workshops featuring distinguished writers, exceeded all expectations.
“I am very pleased both by the program of the Festival, as well as by the participation of important writers and academics not only of Greek background but also from other nationalities,” said GCM President Mr Bill Papastergiadis.
The Greek Writers Festival made its debut at the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture on Friday evening (31 May 2019). The Festival was officially opened at 6.30pm by Boon Wurrung Traditional Land Owner Gheran Steel followed by short speeches from Greek Community President Bill Papastergiadis, Board Member Jim Bossinakis and Program Curator George Mouratidis.
The first panel of the Festival was hosted by Professor Vrasidas Karalis, Sir Nicholas Laurantus Professor Modern Greek Chair at the University of Sydney and featured writers Maria Katsonis and Dmetri Kakmi discussing Growing Up Greek and Rebellious.
During this speech Mr. Papastergiadis said that the GCM has achieved another goal by creating a communication channel at different levels with the other nationalities. Particularly positive were the comments on the participation of writers and academics from other nationalities, by the President of the GCM, Mr Bill Papastergiadis.
Mr. Papastergiadis described the festival as one of the largest Greek Writers Festivals both in Australia and in the diaspora. He said that he was very pleased with the program and the participation of such important writers and academics.
“I am very pleased both by the interesting program of the Festival, as well as by the participation of important writers and academics not only of Greek background but also from other nationalities. It is one of the biggest Writers Festivals and I am glad that this festival is organised by GCM, “ he said.
“In this way, GCM realises another goal of creating a channel of communication with other Australian nationalities, exchanging ideas, experiences and planning together for the future.”
Mr. Papastergiadis added that “GCM’s goal is also to embrace our young writers and support them through our Festival and cultural programs, enabling them to promote their works not only to the Greek community but also to the Australian community. “
Greek Writers Festival run for five big days from 31 May to 8 June with an impressive line-up of over 50 writers and 30 events. These included panels, readings, performances and workshops that challenged and entertained audiences with the aim of fostering a broader cultural, political and literary dialogue.
In 2019, the theme of the festival was Diasporic Dialogues with the programme promoting participation from Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, African, Middle Eastern, Jewish and Australian First Nations writers and performers as well as those who identify as queer.
The aim of the festival was to promote an understanding that writers and performers from different diasporas and communities here in Australia have so much to share and learn from one another, and to encourage and nurture such cultural and artistic relationships.
It’s safe to say, that the festival exceeded every expectation, especially in terms of participation and quality.
For those who attended, it was an invaluable opportunity to listen to the views of various writers on issues concerning contemporary writing and arts in Australia’s multicultural society.
Some of the informative and entertaining sessions on offer at The Greek Centre were:
• The Art of Poetry with Lucy Van (Chair), Michelle Cahill, Tina Giannoukos and Ouyang Yu
• The Art of Fiction with Vrasidas Karalis (Chair), Effie Carr, Will Kostakis and Michael Mohammed Ahmad
• The Word and the Image with Lucy Van (Chair), Bella Li and Stavros Messinis.
• Bilingualism and Identity with: Tina Giannoukos (Chair), Maria Tumarkin, Dean Kalimniou and Ouyang Yu
• Forked Tongues: Bilingual Reading II with Michelle Cahill, Effie Carr, Tina Giannoukos, Tom Petsinis, Dean Kalimniou, Alex Skovron and Hariklia Heristanidis
• The Siren Call of Football with Jim Pavlidis (Chair), George Megalogenis and Tom Petsinis
• The Art of Performance with Santo Cazzati (Chair), John Englezos and Benjamin Theolonious Sanders (IQ)
• Translation: Lost and Found with Vrasidas Karalis (Chair), George Mouratidis, Ouyang Yu and Dean Kalimniou
• Anarchy in Fitzroy with Π.O.
• New Country / First Nation with Tony Birch
• One Hundred Third of East: A Work for Soprano and Contrabass with Nick Tsiavos and Deborah Kayser
• Workshop: Writing the Line: the play of image and rhythm with Tina Giannoukos
• Writing a Legacy with Anna Chatzinikolaou (Chair), Dina Amanatides and Lella Cariddi
• Speak, poet!: Open Mic with moderator Dimitris Troaditis (MC)
• Book Launch Tom Petsinis ‘Steles / Dimitris Troaditis’ with Dr. Thanasis Spilias (Presenter), Tom Petsinis, George Mouratidis (Eng. Presenter), Dean Kalimniou (Greek Presenter) and Dimitris Troaditis.
The members of the Organising Committee of the Festival were:
Dimitris Bosinakis, Jorge Menidis, Giorgos Mouratidis, Dimitris Troaditis, Dmitri Kakmi, Antonia Tsamis, Stavros Messinis and Maria Goniadis.
The festival ended on Saturday 8 June.