book cover,The Heart and Its reasons,

Enter to Win!

book cover,The Heart and Its reasons, Exciting news! I’ve listed my new book The Heart and Its Reasons in the Goodreads Book Giveaways programme! There are 3 copies (print) available. Giveaway dates for entering: Oct 23-Nov 18, 2014.

This is how it works: Find the book in Goodreads here. Scroll down the page, and click the enter to win button there. Goodreads will do the rest! After the 18th of November they will notify me the list of winners and I will post the books directly to the lucky three!

Good luck to all who enter!

“Only connect…” (for Blog Action Day 2014)

refugees,blog action day 2013, amnesty,A global discussion is being held today, October 16th, on the topic of inequality. Organized by Blog Action Day, this year’s event brings together bloggers from over 100 countries to consider an issue of vital importance.

Inequality evokes images of poverty, abuse, injustice, discrimination, suffering, so ubiquitous that we often feel there is little that we can do to address these problems. Sometimes, they are even considered part of the human condition to be simply accepted and endured. Yet, inequality is mostly man-made, and amenable to intervention and change. There are numerous ways open to us to redress skewed balances, and perhaps the most effective ones start right here, right now: from each one of us becoming aware of our own contribution to the layers of inequality in everyday life.

In my earlier posts I reflected on the language of art and its role in bringing awareness into the equation. Looking at artists’ creations not usually associated with inequality, I noted how Anselm Kiefer’s work embodies remembrance in his use of materials such as clay and metal fragments; how Frank Auerbach’s long preoccupation with repair manifests in his heavily encrusted paintings of the same subjects, over and over again; Kader Attia’s concern with the fragility and malleability of meaning and the cyclical processes of creation, recycling, and re-appropriation. Phyllida Barlow’s juxtapositions connecting us to the history of use and abuse of materials and resources. Malevich’s ways of lifting painting out of the necessity of depicting reality… All these ‘revolutionary’ approaches to painting and sculpture, I saw as being instances of digging under layers of appearance, bringing out the asymmetries, the inequalities in the building blocks of our world. In this sense, good art becomes a language mediating our preconceptions, and experience, re-shaping our ways of seeing the world. thistle,inequality,flower,

Specifically, becoming aware of the subtle ways inequality arises, expresses,  and perpetuates itself  in our everyday interactions, is the first important step in helping rebalance unequal relationships.

For instance, common words we use unthinkingly can be a major way of maintaining inequality as well as a vehicle for change. Mary Beard, Cambridge professor in classics, in her recent call for a grey revolution, noting this double-edged potential in language, urges us to reclaim the word ‘old’ from the negative connotations it has acquired. In particular, our associating old age with negative traits, rather than acknowledging it as a source of pride, needs to be examined: in our accepting comments such as “you don’t look your age” as a compliment, she observes, we come to maintain this form of imbalance. We prefer to deny the reality of a natural stage of life, because we have come to see it as only riddled with problems: wrinkles, forgetting, instability, unemployablility, illness. The wisdom, acceptance, achievements, survival, reflectiveness,… that go with it, seem powerless to counteract the negative values we have come to associate with ageing. And this matters because attitudes towards the older generation are at the core of governmental policies making available, or denying, further opportunity, adult education, support, healthcare, and social resources.

Bridge,Augsburg,Blog Action Dat,In addition to ageing, further examples could be drawn from areas of  mental ill-health, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, immigration, conflict… Attributing the cause of these predicaments to the individuals concerned – e.g. genetic or acquired traits, social, or national character – and keeping them separate through linguistic devices, only continues our turning a blind eye to what we have the power to address and change.

Becoming aware/re-minded of this tendency in ourselves, helps us redirect our attention to, and question the assumptions determining our relationship to others. This awareness enables each one of us to make a positive contribution, however small, to the big problem of inequality. But let literature have the last word. Let E. M. Forster’s “Only connect” become a motto for the day, and the year ahead.

Blog Action Day 2014

This year, Blog Action Day is partnering with Oxfam, whose work and involvement around the world has brought in-depth understanding of the issues involved in inequality.

.
Last year (2013,) Blog Action Day’s theme was on Human Rights. My blog post on “Human Rights and Wrongs” was one of three featured on Amnesty International‘s online Journal Livewire.

 

Blog Action Day 2014

On October 16th, 2014, a global discussion is being held on the topic of inequality. Organized by Blog Action Day, this year’s theme brings together bloggers from over 100 countries to contribute on a matter that becomes increasingly urgent.

Inequality, sunflower,daisies,

Wars, civil and religious violence, scarcity of materials and ecological concerns, the spread of disease, are increasingly diverting our attention from the inequalities that abound, and increase in our societies. Yet, to a large degree, inequality is the result of all those processes individually and cumulatively. Wars, for instance, are about real or perceived biases in resource distribution, in turn often resulting in huge increases in inequality. Just think of the thousands of refugees looking for safety in the Mediterranean, and the response they get when (and if) they make it to the European shores. (see here

night chill…
all the refugees asleep
behind bars

It is ubiquitous, but so are the processes that ameliorate and even help reverse it: awareness and reflection, empathy, generosity; pooling of resources and co-operation; language, art, literature; institutions, policies, humanitarian approaches at national and international levels are just a few that come to mind.

Greenwich,London,Tall Ships Festival,Inequality is an urgent and vital topic for discussion, and you may have noticed, I am taking part this year with a series of posts.* Are you? If you are not sure what to write about, Blog Action Day on FB has a number of tips for bloggers. If you don’t have a blog, you may use your FB account or other social media. See also the Blog Action Day 2014 site.

If you are looking for literary inspiration on themes of poverty, homelessness, begging, and poetic resonances to these issues reflecting perspective and culture, see The Kindness of Strangers, a six-part series by Swedish poet Anna Maris on The Haiku Foundation site (you’ll need to scroll down the blog entries for the earlier posts).

Bye for now! See you on the 16th,  online.

#Blogaction14, #Inequality, #Oct16

Anselm Kiefer at the RA and Museum Walter

Malevich at Tate Modern

Phyllida Barlow at Tate Britain

Kader Attia, Whitechapel Gallery

Frank Auerbach at Tate Britain

Blog Action Day 2014

Munich Book Fair, Muenchner Buechershau

Muenchner BücherschauGood news! I am delighted to report that Fruit Dove Press is taking part in the 55th Munich Book Show, at the Gasteig, in Munich, which takes place from the 20 November – 7 December 2014. Various interesting events are planned: authors’ readings, interviews, talks, and above all the opportunity to leaf through wonderful books. Look for Fruit Dove Press here

If you are around, drop in and take a look. I am very much looking forward to the events, especially listening to authors talk about their work.

Auf der Muenchner Buecherschau

Wir von Fruit Dove Press, Neusaess, freuen uns sehr, an der 55. Muenchner Buecherschau 2014 (20. November – 07. Dezember) teilzunehmen. Von uns ausgestellt werden folgende englischsprachigen Titel von Stella Pierides:

  1. In the Garden of Absence (Haiku; Fruit Dove Press, 2012), ausgezeichnet mit dem Memorial Merit Award der Haiku Society of America 2013, fuer 2012 erschienene Buecher (3. Preis)
  2. Feeding the Doves (Kurzgeschichten; Fruit Dove Press, 2013)
  3. The Heart and Its Reasons (Kurzgeschichten; Fruit Dove Press, November 2014)

Die Kurzgeschichtensammlung Feeding the Doves wurde exzellent rezensiert. Die neue Sammlung The Heart and Its Reasons erscheint rechtzeitig zur Muenchner Buecherschau. Wir freuen uns auf Ihren Besuch.

book cover,The Heart and Its reasons,

The Heart and Its Reasons

 The Heart and Its Reasons  — 

Available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de

Steering a path around islands of the past and the present, mythology and history, locals and expatriates, refugees and emigrants, loneliness and aloneness, the fragrance of herbs and the stink of prejudices, the stories in this book traverse the multifarious landscapes of the heart. Setting course by Greece – a country filled with the light and darkness of its past, with wounds still oozing from its wars – the stories explore a space that is both familiar, unfamiliar, and uncannily universal: the haunted, multilayered, enticing, and bewitching chambers of the heart. The sutures keeping it together are pride and longing: for mother, for father, for home; for recognition, for acceptance, for love, for truth; for a better world.

*

From the Back Cover

“Pierides reads and renders our soul with the spectacular clarity of the Greek classics and the depth of the world’s greatest introspective writers. Masterfully portrayed characters, whether they find themselves at crossroads or in seemingly everyday situations, wrestle the often Procrustean tendencies of time, traditions, and heartaches, to ultimately glimpse surprising answers to riddles old and new. These eloquent, hypnotic stories translate the experience of Greek expatriates, contemporary hermits, war veterans, daughters, mothers, and many others, into the universal language of a perpetually searching, truth-thirsty humanity. At once actual and mythic, they blend individual memory and the memory of history, to generate a distinct portrait of the European spirit…”

—Mia Avramut, writer, Essen, Germany

*

“Wistful and bittersweet: a collection of engaging stories. Stella Pierides does not shy away from depicting suffering and loss, but a distinctive feature of her work is how she shows her clearly-drawn characters gradually making sense of even the most chaotic of lives. She calls upon her Greek heritage and pan-European outlook to tackle themes of youth and age, the burdens of history, and the irrepressibility of hope.”

Katie Low, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

.

Available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de

Cover painting: ‘Port Isaac: Golden Light’ by Maria Pierides
.
Fruit Dove Press / http://www.fruitdovepress.com
Email: admin@fruitdovepress.com
.
Perfect softbound / 104 pages, 90gm cream interior paper / Full-color laminated cover / 129 mm x 198 mm trim size / ISBN: 978-3-944155-04-3

Literature, Art, Culture, Society, and lots of Haiku

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 65 other followers