Vassa Solomou Xanthaki

Vassa Solomou Xanthaki was born in 1931 in Ambelakia, a large imposing village of stone built mansions and cobbled streets, situated high in the foothills of Mount Ossa in Thessaly. She was brought up in Athens, where she studied history and archaeology, and went on to work as a teacher in secondary education and in social welfare programmes. She was dismissed from her teaching job when the Greek military dictatorship of 1967–74 came into power and subsequently gave lessons in comparative literature at various cultural and educational centres in Athens. In more recent years she taught a special course in modern Greek literature at the Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Department of the University of St Petersburg.

Her first book, The Forest of Lapournas, a collection of short stories, was published in 1960, and was followed in 1968 by an award-winning historical novel, The Sacred Band. After The Marriage (1975) her other publications include Rest in Peace Barba-Potoula (1979), A Few Golden Flowers for Aspasia (1986), The Letter (1992), Capriccio (1994), The Family Heirloom (1995), Beloved City (1999), and The House with Two Doors (2005), as well as her selected poems, books for children, and translations.

Her old family house, which she has restored, still stands in Ambelakia and she spends her time both there and in Athens.

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