The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) Book Fair opened on Saturday, November 25, and will run for two days.

The cultural centre was full of writers, publishers, and readers.

The event was launched by Dr Nick Dallas, from the Greek Community, who emphasised the importance of Greek Australian authors across all fields and those of non-Greek background writing on Greek themes. Bill Papastergiadis, the president of the Greek Community, then spoke about the “vital role the Greek Community of Melbourne plays in “sustaining and progressing Hellenic Australian culture.” He emphasised the various programs the GCM runs, such as language schools and special seminars by Hellenic and non-Greek experts on culture, society and politics. He mentioned the Greek Antipodes Festival, the largest ethnic cultural and arts festival in Australia, and the Greek Film Festival.

The Consul General of Greece, Emmanuel Kakavelakis, expressed enthusiasm for seeing so many authors and publishers. He asked all Hellenes to provide a book for the Consulate to be made available to visitors and to be part of an archive. The keynote speaker, Prof Nikos Papasergiadis, then took the podium and read a poignant and deep reflection on books, his writing and his enduring friendship with the late critic and author John Berger.

John Berger, Prof Papastergiadis said, wrote a book called A Seventh Man, “which is the most piercing and sensitive examination of the life of the Gastarbeiter.”

” When my mother read the Greek translation, she sighed, ‘It is like he was sitting on my shoulder.'”

He talked about not having books as a child, how he grew to love them, and how his parents supported him in augmenting his love of books. He spoke about how his father “sacrificed all for his children’s education” and was a worker in a printing press.

In a moving and funny anecdote, he recalled how he interrupted his father’s backgammon game to show him the first academic journal he had published.

“When I brought home the first copy of a journal with my name printed on the contents page, he was sitting in the kitchen playing backgammon with my uncle.

“‘Look, baba, it has my name on it.'”

“He looked up. He put down his dice. He picked up the journal, turned to examine the glue on the spine and flicked through the pages. His eyes darted like a hawk on a rabbit.

” ‘The lines are not straight.'”

Christopher Gogos, the publisher of Neos Kosmos, said he was happy to see “so many Greek Australian authors and publishers at the Fair.” The Fair continues Sunday at the Greek Centre on Lonsdale St., Melbourne.

Some of the exhibitors such as Konstantinos Kalymnios, Jim Claven, and Bill Cotsis are regular contributors to Neos Kosmos, while poet, Dimitris Troaditis is a full time journalist for the masthead.


GCM Bookshop

Christos Linou – Linou Press

Kostas Kalymnios

Jim Claven

Bill Cotsis

Ekaterini Tsitouridis

Kiri Tsitouridis

Christos Nicholas Fifis

Hellenic Writer’s Association of Australia

Michael Yiannoudes

Olympia Panagiotopoulos

Dr. John A. Martino

Vivian Vass

Jillia Symons – Language International Bookshop

Varvara Athanasiou-Ioannou

Syrmo Kapoutsi

Danae Konidaris

Greek Australian Cultural League

Marianne Kontossis – i2kids

George Athanasiou

Monika Athanasiou

Dimitris Troaditis

Koraly Dimitriadis

Athena Connock -Ithacan Historical Society Bookstore

Karen Martin – KazJoyPress Kathryn Gauci

Ioannis Sidiropoulos

Socrates Tsourdalakis

Ella Mittas

Nick Trakakis

Konstantinos Kalymnios, published author, poet, thinker and lawyer, and contributor to Neos Kosmos with his books at the Fair. Photo: Supplied