Books

International Children’s Book Day

Eugene Trivizas [ Greece ]

Eugene Trivizas, author of more than 100 children’s books, was born in Athens, Greece in 1946, and is one of the most important contemporary Greek authors for children. He received his LLB degree in Athens, followed by a BSc in Politics and Economics. The following year he received an LLM degree in Comparative Criminal Law and Procedure from the University of London, where he was also awarded his PhD in Criminology in 1979. He is currently Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Reading, Great Britain.  For more than thirty years, he has been involved with almost all genres of literature: fairytales, poetry, stories, humorous historical texts, opera librettos, children’s theatre, comics and educational software.

Trivizas’ picture book ‘Ta tría mikrá lykákia’ (Engl: The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig), published in 1993, became an international bestseller, after his adaptation of the classical fairytale had lain around on his desk for years, because no publisher was willing to publish a book in which the wolf is not evil, but good. Modernised into a work as entertaining as it is pr ofound, it has been translated into seventeen languages and has been incorporated into the Heinemann collection of the ten best classic picture books ever published.  In September 2003 a miniature and pop-up celebratory edition of the book was published, and translated into seven languages.  Trivizas’ surrealistic humour and his creative use of language are unique.  A charming teller of fairytales, Trivizas must be taken seriously in his unseriousness, in his infectious enthusiasm for the limitless, invented, im pr obable, and the phantasmagoric, for beauty and tragedy in the world. Behind his stories’ fabulous and humorous “masks”, serious social issues are concealed.  His novel ‘Hé teleftaía mávri gáta’ (Engl: The Last Black Cat), which was published in 2001, is the story of a ruthless hunt in a society full of pr ejudice and superstition, and a plea for an end to exclusion, persecution and cruelty – persistently portrayed from the perspective of an animal pr otagonist, “the last black cat”. The novel was translated into many European languages.

‘Ta 88 dolmadákia’ is an extraordinary work; this “interactive” book and its sequel, “Ta 33 poz poympiinia” (Engl: The 33 pink coloured rubies) animate young readers to make their own decisions about the story’s order of events.  His more recent publications include the Olympic novel ‘Despina kai to peristeri’ (2001; Engl: Despina and the Dove), which has been published by the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Athens 2004, and ‘Ena helidoni gia tin Europi’ (2003; Engl: A Swallow Over Europe) – an as yet unparalleled book pr oject for children about European integration.

Eugene Trvizas handles the topic of child abuse extremely sensitively in the book “To Lipimeno Arkoudaki” (Engl: “The Little Bear in Trouble”, 2005), which was printed in 2005, but it was only made available to selected individuals and institutions who are specifically trained to explain this difficult subject to children apropriately. In 2007 “The Village of Joy” was published, the proceeds of which go to Greek SOS-Children’s villages. His most recent project is the adaptation of his book “To pontikaki pou ithele na angixei ena asteraki” (Engl: The little mouse who wanted to touch a star) into an animation film, which is intended to help this genre of Greek cinema to gain international recognition.

Eugene Trivizas has received the most pr estigious Greek awards and a large number of international honours – he was a finalist for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2006, amongst others.  In 1997, he won a spectacular court case against Coca Cola, who wanted to register the term “Fruitopia” in Greece as a trademark for soft drinks.  Trivizas’ homonymic work ‘Frutopia’ had namely already existed as a successful TV series and theatre play, and the title of a comic series since 1985.  Trivizas’ works have been adapted for theatre, TV and radio, have become required reading in Greek and American schools, and have been translated into many languages. Today he is the most acted playwright in Greece. The author lives in Reading and Athens.

© international literature festival berlin

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