Greek Independence Day is right around the corner! The ancient Greeks are well known for their contributions to our society, but Greeks of the modern age have their own accomplishments to celebrate. Not only did they win their independence from the Ottoman Empire and make the Nazis’ stay in Greece seriously unpleasant, but they’ve also produced many excellent writers. To celebrate Greek Independence Day here in America, check out these five Greek American authors and their work!
1) Annie Liontas
Annie is the author of Let Me Explain You, a hilarious and touching work of literary fiction about a curmudgeonly Greek man’s (supposed) last days on earth and the resulting family drama. Themes include relationships between fathers and daughters, between sisters, the art of storytelling, and more. The story of Stavros Stavros Mavrakis is perfect for Greek Americans and xenoi alike, especially those who enjoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
2) Lauren Spieller
Lauren is the author of Your Destination Is On The Left, a contemporary YA inspired by the Odyssey. The story follows Dessa Rhodes, a Greek American teenager whose dearest wish is to go to art school. When she wins a prestigious internship, it seems that all her dreams might come true. But taking the internship and going to art school would mean abandoning her travelling family and their way of life. Dessa will have to choose—her dream or her family?
3) Eleni Gage
Eleni is the author of several novels as well as the travel memoir North Of Ithaka, which recounts her experiences in the remote mountain village of Lia, her family’s ancestral home. In an effort to put some personal ghosts to rest and seek out her history, she spent a year rebuilding the house her father grew up in but had to flee during the civil war. Though it deals with some dark subject matter, the book is lovely and at times delightfully light hearted. The village of Lia and its inhabitants come to life and will either make you want to pack your bags or make you feel like you’re already there.
4) Thea Halo
Thea is the author of Not Even My Name, a work of creative nonfiction about the author’s mother: Sano Halo, a survivor of the Ottoman Empire’s genocide of Christian minorities in the aftermath of World War I. The book follows Sano through a death march, an arranged marriage at age fifteen to a stranger three times her age, and on to New York City. Though it is an undeniably heavy read, Sano’s story is one of the few first hand accounts of a little-known and in fact actively suppressed piece of Greek history that deserves to be remembered.
And, not to toot my own horn here, but…what the heck? Horns are for tooting!
5) Kassandra Flamouri
Kassandra is the author of The Roots Of Our Magic, a Greek-English bilingual collection of short stories inspired by the history, mythology, and folklore of Greece. This work is perfect for advanced second-language students (of Greek or English) who want to expand their vocabulary or simply enjoy engaging stories in both languages. Author notes and glossaries are included with each story for easy reference.
Whether you’re of Hellenic descent or not, Greek Independence Day is a perfect excuse to explore the works of Greek American authors—and maybe enjoy a gyro or two, as well!
Kassandra Flamouri holds a degree in Music from the Sunderman Conservatory of Gettysburg College, which she uses to moonlight as a folk musician while earning a living as an SAT tutor. Her work has appeared online and in print in such venues as Flash Fiction Magazine, Timeless Tales Magazine, Fterota Logia, and more. The Roots of Our Magic is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, due to be released on March 25th. For more information about her published and upcoming works, visit her at www.flamourifiction.com. Subscribers to her mailing list receive a free story (both text and audio narration) from Roots’ all-English sister collection The Fruit of Our Thorns as well as a monthly Pawsitivity email from Skye the rescue pup.