Much loved Greek novelist and children’s writer Alki Zei died on Friday, at the age of 97, at her home with her children, Irene and Petros. Her funeral will be held at the Athens 1st Cemetery on Tuesday, where her husband Giorgos Sevastikoglou was also buried.
Translated into several languages, her work left its stamp on modern Greek literature with books such as “Achilles’ Fiancee” and children’s fiction, such as the “Wildcat under Glass” and “Petros’ War”, among others.
Her last public appearance was in December 2019 at the Athens Concert Hall, for an event organised for the launch of her latest book “A Child from Nowhere”.
Alki Zei was born in 1923 and spent her first years on Samos, before the family moved to the Athens suburb of Maroussi and then Athens.
She studied at the Athens University School of Philosophy and the Athens Conservatory Drama School then went 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 to Greece only to leave again at the start of the military junta in Greece in 1967, to live in Paris until the mid-70s.
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 has also translated many books from French, Italian and Russian into Greek.