Maria Papayanni.

I was born in the city of Larissa in the region of Thessaly, Greece. I grew up in a house full of people: my parents, my sister, Victoria, various cousins, aunts and uncles, family friends. My older cousins provided books and music. We spent the summer holidays in Platamon, on the coast of Pieria. For three months we played, swam, rode bikes and watched movies in open-air cinemas.

In my last year at school I was awarded a prize for an essay on Thessaly, which was published by Efthyni Publishing House.
I went on to study Greek Language and Literature in the university of Thessaloniki. I made loads of friends there, exchanging books and music with them. I travelled a lot, in Greece and abroad: to Chalkidiki, to the Cycladic islands, and whenever I could afford it, to Europe by InterRail.

When I graduated, I moved to Athens, where I worked as a journalist for many years. I had the honour to be Head of Press Office for the Orchestra of Colours. In 1996, I married Thanos Mikroutsikos, a well-known composer; my daughter Alexandra was born in the same year.

In 2001 I gave birth to Stergios, my second child; my first book, Goodnight, Mum, was published that year as well.

 

In 2002 my friend, author Philipos Mandilaras, and I co-wrote Catch them! It was published the following year, and received a merit award by the Children’s Book Circle (the Greek section of IBBY).

On Christmas 2002, Megaron, the Athens Concert Hall, presented Say it with a fairy tale for narrator and orchestra. Thanos Mikroutsikos wrote the music and I wrote the libretto, which was based on Selma Lagerloef’s The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson. Gerasimos Gennatas was the narrator; the Camerata Orchestra was directed by Alexandros Myrat.

Two more books – ‘Santa, Will You Do Me A Favour?’ and ‘An Adventure For Romeo’ were published in 2003.
In 2004-05 the Ark of Myths puppet theatre group performed Romeo. I wrote the lyrics of “Romeo’s Song” especially for the performance, to music by Thanos Mikroutsikos.

In the same year, Patakis Publications published the first book about Petros and his adventures, in their series for very young readers.

In 2006 As If By Magic was published, and went on to win the Children’s Book Circle Prize (Greek section of IBBY) and the Diavazo [Greek translation: I Read] Literary Magazine Prize.

I wrote the libretto and lyrics for Isn’t It Strange? Music by Thanos Mikroutsikos. It was performed at the Megaron Athens Concert Hall for two consecutive years (Christmas 2007 and 2008)

My love for fairy tales led me down the paths of storytelling. Stelios Pelasgos and Lily Lambrelli were my teachers. As a result, I wrote The Dream Thief (2006), a collection of three magical fairy-tales in the style of folktales.

 

 

The Lonely Tree (2010) won the Diavazo Literary Magazine Prize, as well as the State Award for Young Adult Literature. In the same year the Theatre of the New World (Theatro tou Neou Kosmou) commissioned the short play “Trool’s Riddle”, directed by Pantelis Dentakis. The play was performed at the Theatre as well as in many hospitals and institutions through the company’s community outreach programme.

All my works are published by Patakis Publications.

My story entitled «You Will Win Another Day» will be published in 2013 by Minedition and Patakis Publishers, illustrated by Eve Tharlet.

Effie Lada and I met in 2015 when we created our first book «He had everything and he had a lot». Growing older, it seems, makes us wonder about the precious things in life. It was during the crisis period and the main hero of the book is a King who fears «tomorrow». Thus, he cannot enjoy neither the few, nor the many.

In 2016 my book «Shoes with Wings» was released. Writing the book, I was hoping that it could be the excuse, a friendly push, that would lead children to real poetry.The cover was exactly what I was dreaming about. Everything is possible in the heroine’s mind and Foteini Tikkou made everything travel into her hair.

A moon that has to come to earth to understand that friendship is contagious made Effie and I join for a second time in our book «At least Two».

2018 brought the first book of the new series «Tell me a story». Because you can say everything differently if you say it through a story(Κ εδω κοιτα το). First choice for the series was one of my old favourites by Sellers Lagerlev » Neils Holgersen», in a new children’s adaptation. Illustration by Myrto Delivoria. A girl, a little story.