Much-loved Greek novelist and children’s writer Alki Zei died on Friday at the age of 97 at her home in Athens.
Translated into several languages, her works left their stamp on modern Greek literature with books such as “Achilles’ Fiancee” and children’s fiction, including “Wildcat under Glass” and “Petros’ War,” among others.
Zei’s last public appearance was in December of 2019 at the Athens Concert Hall, for an event organized for the launch of her latest book “A Child from Nowhere.”
The author was born in 1923 and spent her first years on Samos, before the family moved to the Athens suburb of Maroussi and then Athens.
Zei studied at the Athens University School of Philosophy and the Athens Conservatory Drama School before going on to study film in Moscow.
She became involved in the leftist movement in Greece during the German occupation in WWII and then went into exile in Russia with her husband between 1952 and 1964, returning briefly to Greece only to leave again at the start of the military junta in Greece in 1967.
She lived in Paris until the mid-1970s.
Her first children’s novel, “Wildcat Under Glass,” is now considered a classic work of world children’s literature with continual reprints since it was first published in 1963.
She became an ambassador for modern Greek literature abroad and almost all her work has been translated and published in countries around the world. She also translated many books from French, Italian and Russian into Greek.