Andreas Tsakalis, the youngest son of displaced parents from Asia Minor,
was born in 1937 in Nea Apolonia near Thessaloniki, Greece. In 1941, Andreas
lost his father who was one of the first to be executed by the Germans during
their occupation in Greece. After the end of the war, the remaining family
moved to Thessaloniki, where young Andreas spent the rest of his teenage years.
the age of 18, and before his mandatory draft to the Greek Army, young Andreas
wrote his first novel, Το Μικρό Χωριό της Λίμνης (The
Small Village by the Lake), published few years later by Difros, one
of the main publishers at that time in Athens, Greece.
A short time after
the book's publication, the Greek government tried Andreas for the "anti-government" and "radical" views
in his novel. Soon after his trial and acquittal, Andreas left Greece for
Europe. After a short stay in Germany he later moved to Sweden where he
met, studied and collaborated with Professor Antonis
Mistakides/Mesevrinos, a Greek scholar and head of the Modern Greek Literature
Department at the University of Lund, Sweden.
Andreas transferred to Charles University in Prague (Czechoslovakia) and
later he attended FAMU, a film academy, where he met the Czech writer,
Milan Kundera, a Professor of European Literature, for whom he admired
and respected. As a result of their friendship, Andreas was the first Greek
writer to translate Milan Kundera’s work to Greek with the novel The
Joke (Το Αστείο), published
by Kalvos / Athens in 1971. The translations introduced Kundera's work to
the Greek audience. Starting with the novel, The Joke, he is
also the only Greek translator who translated many of Kundera's books
from their original
Czech manuscripts (some handwritten, others typed), sent to Andreas
by Kundera himself or by his French agent, Chevallier (editions Gallimar),
Beside Kundera, Andreas also translated
several other modern Czech and Russian writers, all from their original
languages. During his stay in Prague, Andreas was working very close with
Dr. Jan Binder at
Odeon / Krasna
Literatura, one of the state's primary book publishers. There, Andreas
was part of the lector’s of foreign book critic group and played a
significant role in deciding which Greek books were to be translated and
later published in Czechoslovakia. Dr. Jan Binder introduced Andreas
to many other Slavic authors’ writings that later resulted in translations
of their works.
In 1975, Andreas left Europe for
the United States, where he lives with his wife and daughter.
Even though most of his early years were mainly devoted
to translations, Andreas continued to write his own novels in Greek, publishing
them in his native Thessaloniki where he continues to maintain very
close ties with his family and friends.
Please note: Some of the titles of the translations and
novels are in Greek. If you do not have Greek fonts installed on your computer,
they may not appear correctly. To obtain free Greek fonts and for installation
instructions, click here.
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