Greek novelist Michalopoulou to appear in fiction series

Published April 3, 2014

Award-winning Greek novelist and short story writer Amanda Michalopoulou will read from her first translated novel, the evocatively titled “Why I Killed My Best Friend,” at 7 p.m. April 10 in Hallwalls Cinema, 341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, as part of the Department of English’s Exhibit X Fiction Series.

The reading is free and open to the public.

One of Greece’s leading contemporary writers, Michalopoulou is the author of six novels, three short story collections and a series of children’s books. She has won the country’s highest literary awards, including the Revmata Prize, the Diavazo Award and the Prize of Athens Academy, and has been nominated for and won several U.S.-based awards as well.

Michalopoulou’s first book to be translated into English — a collection of stories called “I’d Like” —was nominated for the Best Translated Book Award and won the International Literature Prize from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Her first translated novel, “Why I Killed My Best Friend,” is set against the turbulent landscape of Greek political and economic unrest. Exhibit X director Christina Miletti, associate professor of English, says the novel explores the friendship of two cosmopolitan girls — one from Athens by way of Africa, the other from Paris — and how their love and competitiveness translates into a difficult relationship —what the narrator calls “odiodsamato,” which, loosely translated, means “frienemies.”

A significant element of the novel explores our increasing global identities, Miletti says.

“Michalopoulou borrows Debord’s notion of ‘psychogeography’ and investigates how our sense of space, our sense of self, is constantly reinvented in the contemporary moment,” she says. Michalopoulou has written many of her novels while living in Germany, France, the U.S. and Switzerland, and has said that living in those countries has given her “the freedom to invent other identities — and yet I cannot escape my Greek identity,” Miletti relates.

“This combination is an ideal breeding ground for the imagination,” she adds.

“In all of Michalopoulou’s work, we are presented with a constellation of unusual stories, characterized as much by lyrical and hypnotic prose as by their movement between languages, people, and places,” Miletti says. “Marked by unerring cosmopolitanism, it’s no surprise that Michalopoulou has been described as one of Greece’s most innovative young story tellers.”