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  Nr. 71 - June 2004
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House of Literature

by Vicki Preston
The Municipality of Paros have launched a joint project with the European Translation Centre (EKEMEL) in Athens to create a "House of Literature" in the former Xenia Hotel in Lefkes.

Paros's latest cultural endeavour received both national and some international press coverage which will certainly contribute to the promotion of our island as a centre of academic and artistic activity. As our Mayor described it at the press conference held to announce this important new step, it is an "opportunity to move away from mass tourism to cultural tourism".

Accommodating up to fourteen guests at a time, the House of Literature will be open all year and welcomes writers and translators from all around the world. Priority will be given to EU citizens for whom residence will be free of charge; participants from other countries will be charged a symbolic fee (15 euros per day). They will be expected to mention in their published work that it was completed at the Paros House of Literature. Applicants, who are eligible for periods of residence between 2 weeks and 3 months, must have a project planned and translators should have a contract with a publisher.

It is hoped that this venue will become a place of cultural exchange and meetings that will encourage dialogue among European writers, especially about Greek Literature.

The first event planned is a conference of Greek writers which will take place over three to four days at the beginning of June. In early July the House of Literature will host a congress of well-known writers and journalists from a number of major European papers including Figaro, Le Monde, El Pais, the Guardian and the Times, as well as Greek writers whose work has been translated into other languages, and some public readings are planned for that week.

A group of international journalists are also visiting Paros following the International Federation of Journalists' 25th World Congress in Athens on 25th May. They were invited by the Municipality to hold the first meeting of their newly-elected committee on 30th May in the Paros Town Hall and were then escorted on a guided tour of the island.

Further information and application forms are available from the European Translation Centre Director Catherine Velissaris at EKEMEL, 2 Lykavitou St., Athens 106 71, email: ekemel@otenet.gr, tel: 210 363 9520. See also their website: www.ekemel.gr.
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