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Naxos celebrates Greek writer

- by John Swift

Naxos celebrates Greek island writer.

Naxos island is to celebrate the work of renowned Greek writer Alexander Papdiamantis on the centenary of his death in 1911. Events in the village of Foliti, the largest village on Naxos, include readings from his works, an exhibition and film shows as well as other cultural events.

Celebrations start on the weekend of July 29 with the opening of an exhibition and events run until the end of August.

Although he was born in Skiathos, one of the Sporades islands, Papdiamantis has links with Naxos, in the Cyclades island group, and his novel 'The Merchants of the Nations' refers to the first years of the conquest of the island of Naxos.

The 'Merchants of the Nations', was serialised in a newspaper in 1882-1883 under the pseudonym of 'La Boheme' and is considered one of the major works by Papadiamantis and an icon of Greek literature.

Many of his works have been turned into films including 'The Merchants of the Nations' in 1973, 'The Murderess' in 1976, 'The Gypsy Girl' and 'Easter Chanter in' 1985 and 'The Homesick Wife' in 2004.

He is best known for his book of short stories 'Tales from a Greek Island' which were written between 1887 and 1892 . After his death in 1911 of pneumonia, he was acclaimed as the best Greek author modern Greece had offered and dubbed the ' saint of Greek letters'.

Filoti is the biggest village of Naxos and, in the summer, attracts many tourists. There are wonderful views along the Tragea valley while Mount Za dominates the skyline and, at over 1000 metres, is the highest mountain on the island of Naxos.

Filoti's long, narrow street is lined with shops and a few roadside cafes offer refreshment. Filoti has an interesting church, Panagia Filotitissa, built in 1801 which has some fine icons, a marble iconostasis screen and a nicely carved bell tower.