"Our Peoples Can Do Many Joint Things"
By Genc Mlloja
Albanian Daily News
Published October 6, 2017
"I am very happy that I am in Tirana today as it is the first time. Today I was at a Greek school in Tirana. It seemed to me as if I was at a Greek school. And if we want the two people can do many joint things with each other," said the well-known Greek writer, Alki Zei.
The Greek Embassy in Tirana in cooperation with the publishing house "Dituria" organized on Wednesday a ceremony during which two books written by Mrs. Zei - "The Purple Umbrella" (1987), and "Constantina" (2002), which have recently been translated into Albanian, were launched to Albanian readers in the presence of the writer, the Minister of Culture, Milena Kumbaro, the chairman of the Unity for Human Rights Party, Vangjel Dule, the Councilor of the Greek Embassy to Albania, Grigoris Delavekouras, many professors of Tirana University, students and journalists.
Alki Zei, born in 1925, belongs to the writers of the after war (Second World War) generation, in fact being one of its main representatives, not only because of her work for adults (Achilles ‘fiancée – 1987, The twelfth grandmother and more… - 2000, Spanish shoes – 2010), but also with her novels for grown-up children. Her studies include philosophy, drama and scenario writing. She has lived an important part of her life as a political refugee in the former Soviet Union and in Paris, until the reconstitution of the parliamentary republic in Greece in 1974.
"I am very happy that books of the Greek literature are translated into Albanian because in this way you will have an opportunity to know us better. But also the vice versa, that is the translation of Albanian books into Greek would be a very good endeavor," the outstanding Greek writer told the audience in Tirana.
Welcoming the Greek writer, the Minister of Culture, Mirela Kumbaro said that she had come to that meeting as a reader and translator. "I want to thank you for the efforts made so that literature of neighboring countries comes to Albania. We in Albania have translated books by great writers from other countries, but there is a lack of books from those countries which are close to us. The translation of books from the neighboring countries serves also to the rapprochement of people through culture," said Mrs. Kumbaro.
The Director of the publishing house "Dituria", Petrit Ymeri was pleased with the publishing of the two novels and in his view there was a lack of books by neighboring countries' writers translated into Albanian. He was of the opinion that more efforts should be done in this field. The translator, Kleo Lati, who translated into Albanian "The Purple Umbrella", considered Mrs. Zei as one of the best and long living writers of the Greek contemporary literature.
The first book of Mrs. Zei "The Tiger in the Shop Window" (1963) was translated by the well-known translator, Llambro Ruci.
Asked by Albanian Daily News on her knowledge about Albanian literature, the Greek writer, Alki Zei said that she had read only works of Ismail Kadare. "Besides Kadare I have not read any other Albanian writer. I do not think that other Albanian books have been translated into Greek," said the outstanding Greek writer.