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Australian writers in Greece, Greek writers in Australia, and their relationship to landscape and ritual

book covers 2Dr Konstandina Dounis will present a lecture entitled Australian writers in Greece, Greek writers in Australia, and their relationship to landscape and ritual, on Thursday 25 August, 7 pm, at the Greek Centre, as part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne. The lecture will also be broadcasted via Facebook and YouTube.

Thousands upon thousands of Greek immigrants made their way to Australia during the post-war migratory phase, the overriding reason being to escape the debilitating poverty of their war-ravaged homeland. Some of them were, indeed, writers but the propensity to ‘engage with their craft’ was never cited as a reason for their arrival on Australian soil. Survival was front and centre as the instigator. At the same time as this reality was being played out, another reality was unfolding in the country they had left behind. Inconceivably, several Anglo-Australian writers actively chose to relocate to Greece. Their reasoning focused on the propensity for writing that a simpler way of life – in an idyllic landscape – would render possible. On the surface, both groups couldn’t be more different. A few educated Anglo-Australian writers indulging in their quest for inspiration hardly seem commensurate with Greek writers leaving Greece because they were starving, ensconcing themselves in factories, and writing the odd poem in their toilet breaks. But the rigid construct of the pre-conception has a way of becoming dismantled the more you delve into the cultural framework of that moment in time you are shining a spotlight on. Things are never black and white and the literary works emanating from these diverse groups reveal surprising shades and hues.

Dr Konstandina Dounis is a cultural historian, author, and literary translator. Greek-Australian literature, history, and culture have been the axis around which her research has revolved. Her doctoral thesis, The Shadow and the Muse: Journeys within the thematic tapestry inherent in Greek-Australian women’s writing entails extensive forays into unearthing immigrant women’s texts, examining their propensity to challenge historically entrenched perspectives relating to gender-based invisibility. She is the recipient of the Monash University MSA Award for Teaching Excellence 2018; AALITRA Award for Literary Translation 2020, 2nd Prize; GACL Literary Competition Prose 2020, 1st Prize. Recent publications include: 'Antigone Kefala: Of Journeys, songs, and stories', New Australian Modernities (UWA); the translation into English of Litsa Nikolopoulou-Gogas’ memoir, Moments of Truth (Australian Scholarly Publishing). She teaches within the Faculty of Education at Monash University and, as of February 2020, works with the Monash Education Academy whose central mandate is the university-wide enhancement of teaching practice.

When: Thursday 25 August 2022, 7pm
Where: Mezzanine Level, 168 Lonsdale Street, The Greek Centre
Platforms: Facebook, Youtube

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