My first stop in Greece was a quick trip up to Thessaloniki where I attended a poetry book launch of a Vancouver Greek/Can poet friend Manolis Aligizakis. The next day I delivered a copy of SHADOW to the Society of Macedonian studies and then I toured around the city. This included a stop at the statue of Alexander the Great at the harbour of course, and later a tour around to see Kamal Ataturk's house and some other sights.
I was very fortunate to be received so heartily by the Greeks and was invited by the directors, in particular Joanna Theiakou, to do a reading at the Athens Centre (Sept 24) after which there was a reception. There was a very good attendance and this included some people from the Canadian Archaeological Institute. I have to thank my friend Zoe Loukopoulous for setting this up for me and putting me in touch with the right people.
Two days later I headed up to Larissa where I was invited to present my book at a World Poetry Peace conference. I spent a delightful evening there with Chryssa Velissariou, my hostess and friends. Then back to Athens on the train the next day. That contact was thanks to Ariadne Sawyer who is in charge of World Poetry here in Vancouver. I have been on her radio program and she introduced me to Chyrssa through FB.
Also thanks to my friend Zoe, I was put in touch with Steve Madeiros, dean of the American Community School in Athens. We had a meeting and he was enthusiastic about me coming to read to the students. So on my last day in Athens I went and read to two double-sized grade nine kids. They were very receptive, asking interesting questions. All the staff at the school were so warm and friendly and I really enjoy my morning there.
Most of my time in Greece was spent in Athens either planning the readings or doing research for the Athens Guide. I did make a 3 day visit to Salamina and enjoyed exploring archaeological sites with my friend Christina. And one day my friend Carole Barkas, hostess of the B&B where I was staying, invited me to join her on a senior tour up the coast to visit 3 volcanic islands off the north tip of Euboeia. Carole had also invited me to read for a couple of her reading group friends. And she was very helpful in promoting the book, even ordered a box to sell for me there.
I stopped in at Mainz, Germany for a couple of days enroute home to visit my friend Patrick and do more touring for travel articles material. Then home. And the excitement continued.
On Oct 19 I was awarded an 'empowered writers' award at the World Poetry Peace Poethon here in Vancouver. I have a certificate and cute little golden 'Oscar' which sits on the coffee table by SHADOW. That was thanks to Ariadne Sawyer who nominated me for the award. A big honour!
Meanwhile the publisher says he has sent a copy of the book to Oliver Stone because so many people say what a great movie or TV series it would make! And the Greek Consul, Mr Ilias Kremmydas, has been helping me organize my official book launch which will be on January 14 at the Hellenic Centre here in Vancouver. Meanwhile he told me to send my info to the Greek attache in Ottawa and she has responded with an invitation for me to come to the East (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto) on a reading tour as there are large Greek communities there. I am definitely going to plan for that and will organize something with her for later in the Spring.
I did one reading here when I got back, and there's another coming up in two weeks. I have been busy sending out promo material about the book and will be seeing my brother-in-law this weekend as he has offered to be my publicist. Lots to do even though the book is published so there seems no end to it and I'll appreciate the help.
Remember you can get the books at local bookstores if you ask them to order it. In the States or UK they may be on the shelves of main bookstores. In Canada Coles or Chapters will order them. Or get them thru Amazon.com The local libraries will also be stocking them.