Greek writer and journalist Vassilis Alexakis died in France at the age of 77 on Monday, it was announced today.
He was born in Athens in 1943 and studied at the Lille School of Journalism.
Alexakis had been a journalist at Le Monde, where he also wrote book reviews and columns.
A versatile writer writing in both French and Greek, and publishing in both countries (often simultaneously), he was also interested in humorous drawing and in film.
One of his films, “Athenians,” won first prize at the first international humor film festival at Charmousse in 1991.
In his literary work, Alexakis drew from both Greek and French culture.
In 1974 he published his first book, “Le Sandwich,” written in French.
The first book he wrote in Greek was “Talgo,” published in 1981. By writing Talgo, and later on, “La langue maternelle” directly in Greek, he wanted to prove himself that he was still able to write in his mother tongue.
He self-translated Talgo into French and since then he wrote each book in French and Greek.
In darkly humorous prose, Alexis combined the genres of autobiography, history, fantasy, and suspense.
In 2006, “Les Mots étrangers” was translated by Alyson Waters and published under the title “Foreign Words;” this was the first of his novels to be translated into English.
In 1995, he received the prestigious Prix Médicis for La Langue Maternelle. In 2007, he received the Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie Française for “Ap. J.-C.”
Alexakis’ work has also been published in Germany, Italy, Spain, Armenia, Russia, Turkey, Argentina, the United States and Israel.