CURRICULUM VITAE

Litsa Psarafti is one of the most prominent and popular children's writers in Greece, having received every major Greekaward for children's literature.

Litsa Psarafti began her life on Samos Island, Greece. In 1943, while the 2nd World War was goingon, she and her family, like the majority of Samos inhabitants, had to flee their island persecuted by the Nazis, who started bombing and devastating Samos. A refugee camp in the Middle East became her home for the nexttwo years. By the age of 9 she had already had many tragic experiences which found their way to some of her books years later.

Back to Samos in 1945, Psarafti finished school before moving to Athens. There, after completing her studies, she worked first with the refugee branch of the World Council of Churches and then with the American Embassy. Her first book for children was not published until 1980. "Andromeda in the blue planet" was awarded a prize by the Greek Section of IBBY. Soon five more books followed, all of which won national prizes.

In the '90s Psarafti wrote ten more books and won four more awards, among which a distinction from the Academy of Athens for her book "the viper's egg", and the 1996 State Prize for Children's Literature for her book"Ecates's smile", while her book "Persefone's tears" was included in the 1996 IBBY Honor List. "Ecate's smile was translated in Spanish < La Sonrisa de Hecate > and published by Ediciones ms. "Ecate's smile was also translated in Catalanic "El somriure d' Hecate" and published by "editorial cruilla".

Psarafti draws inspiration from Greek reality and the rich history of her birthplace. She primarily creates books for the young people of her own culture, but her work, although rooted in her own background, succeeds in transcending it, so that children anywhere in the world can identify themselves in her stories.

Rejection of war and violence, a plea for freedom, justice and equal opportunities are the themes of other books by Psarafti inspired by her own childhood and experiences. "The double voyage" based on real events - the author witnessed the nightmare of the 2nd World War - is a hymn to peace, values and humanitarianism, written with vitality and emotion, strong and well rounded characters and with the deft wit and an ear finely tuned to both inner and outer dialogue. The author lets three distinct children show us the truth about their families, their countries and themselves. The newspapers and literature reviews highly recommended the book as a serious contribution to children's literature and is taught in the Greek Universities.

Psarafti's personal interest in refugees is evident also in her book" The disappearance".

Social problems and contemporary life is another source of inspiration for the author. For example, her book" The viper's egg" was the first Greek young adult book to deal with the problem of AIDS. Psarafti's attainment was that she dealt with a difficult subject in a sensitive and tender way, but also frank one. It is due to this that the above book, a best seller among young adults, (published in 1990) is still in print, having been printed many times and having sold more than 60.000 copies ina country of ten million people.

Hearing about Psarafti's thematology, one could reach to the conclusion that her books tend to induce a sense of helplessness. This is not true however. Her books, although written with penetrating vision and great artistic refinement, give a positive image of the world and do not lack the most important element characterizing books for children or young adults: Hope!

The elements of soundness and hope are even more evident in Psarafti's books dealing with nature and environment themes, as"Breaths and whispers of the woods" or "The circus and Goliath the midget". Furthermore, Psarafti is interested to promote understanding of different values and civilizations. Her attempt to this direction is portrayed in her book" One summer in Buddha's shadow" and "The last heroes". The first is a travel novel on South and Southeast Asia, the second refers to Egypt and the third is inspired by stories and myths of Red Indians.

Critics and academics agree that Psarafti has made a substantial contribution especially to young adult literature. She has found new forms and narrative techniques to tell her stories and her literary profile includes quality and depth of imagination, natural blend of fact and fiction, sense of optimism and hope for the future.

Her books have been published in numerous editions, have received excellent reviews and have been the subject of many dissertations in Greek Universities. The Greek Section of IBBY has selected L. Psarafti to be nominated as the 2000 Greek candidate for the H.C.Andersen award.

Living in a country that has always been a crossroad of religions and civilizations, Psarafti is profoundly aware of the problems faced by people, such as poverty, violence, isolation and the sheer struggle for survival. She firmly believes that now more than ever, themes and values have their place in children's literature, with the world struck anew by wars, nationalism, racism and xenophobia. Humanity, compassion, respect for cultural diversity and international understanding are some of the values her books focus on.

Having produced 30 successful books up to now, Psarafti feels that her best book has not yet written! Young in heart, she plans to write a lot of books in the future. When asked why she writes, she replies that there are a thousand reasons why one writes, but for her the best answer is one: Because she likes it!

Apart from her essential contribution to the Greek children's literature, Psarafti has offered voluntary work for the Greek Section of IBBY from 1984 to 1994, as Advisor and Treasurer. She is also serving as a liaison with the Documentation Centre of Books for Disabled Young People of IBBY, showing keen interest in children with special needs.

Psarafti is received at many schools or other meet-the-author events, conferences and book presentations. She is a member of various cultural societies, such as the National Society of Greek Authors, the Greek Section of IBBY, the "Diadromes" magazine, etc. She is also a member of the board of various organizations for children with special needs.

Litsa Psarafti lives in Athens with her husband and has a mentally retarded son.

At the year 2012, she was honored with Athens Academy Award for her contribution in children's literature.


 
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