Reading Club: Javier Cercas, Soldiers of Salamis - Εικόνα

In January, the SNFCC Reading Club continues its meetings, facilitated by writer Dimosthenis Papamarkos.

Dimosthenis Papamarkos was born in 1983 in Malesina of Locris. He studied Ancient Greek History in Athens and Oxford. He has published novels, short stories and graphic novels. In 2014, his short story collection Ghiak, which has been translated into Russian and German, earned him the Petros Haris Foundation / Academy of Athens award, as well as the award for best Short Story/Novella of the magazine Anagnostis. Papamarkos has also written theater and screenplays, and has translated classical Greek dramas for productions of the National Theater of Greece and the Athens and Epidaurus Festival. While an Onassis Artistic Research Fellow, he wrote the theatrical play Ston Koraka. He works as a content creator for projects of the Faliro House film productions company.a

On Monday, January 23, Reading Club facilitator Dimosthenis Papamarkos will welcome participants at the Book Castle, to exchange views based on the book of the month.

On Monday, January 30, the Reading Club’s meeting will take place online via Zoom. .

January: Soldiers of Salamis, Javier Cercas 

With General Franco’s forces having prevailed almost entirely in the Spanish civil war, the Republican troops are starting to retreat towards the French borders. During this long journey of exile, someone makes a decision to execute a group of Francoist prisoners. Among them is Rafael Sánchez Mazas, co-founder and ideological leader of the fascist Falange. Sánchez Mazas, one of the prime movers of the lethal civil war, will not only manage to escape the group execution, but will also be miraculously spared once again when, as a fugitive, he is identified by Republican militia. The Republican guard will take aim, but at the last minute he will decide to spare his life. From the viewpoint of a journalist-narrator who lives in 2000 Spain and attempts to recreate the events surrounding this bizarre escape, Javier Cercas in Soldiers of Salamis manages to skillfully interweave the past with the present, actual people with invented characters, History with fiction, in a captivating narrative. But the importance of this book goes well beyond its literary merits — quite noteworthy through they are, as evidenced by its sales of over one million copies worldwide, its high acclaim among critics, and the fact that it pulled its author out of artistic invisibility to make him one of the most significant voices of contemporary Spanish literature. The book Soldiers of Salamis marks a watershed moment for the public history of the Spanish civil war, as well as for the way that it influenced Spanish society to revisit the deep trauma of this war in a new light, that of reconciliation.


Javier Cercas is a writer and columnist. He was born in 1962 in Cáceres, in the autonomous community of Extremadura. After studying Spanish Literature, he taught Spanish at the University of Illinois (USA) during 1987–1989, and has been teaching Spanish Literature at the University of Girona since 1989. Since 1997, he has been a frequent contributor to the Catalan edition of El País and its Sunday supplement. He made his debut in Spanish literature in 1987, with his first novel, El móvil, but became well-known to the general public many years later, in 2001, with the release of his novel Soldiers of Salamis [Soldados de Salamina]. The latter became an enormous commercial success and received numerous accolades by critics, almost immediately raising Cercas to prominence as one of the leading contemporary Spanish authors. Also very successful were his subsequent works, which were translated into more than 30 languages and earned major international awards, such as the 2016 European Book Award for his book The Impostor [El Impostor]. Cercas’s literature is boldly balancing between documentary and fiction, always focusing on the theme of how contemporary Spanish society and politics relates to the recollection of historic past.


Monday 23/01 | 18.30-20.30

For adults | Up to 30 participants
Free admission online preregistration required 


Monday 30/01 | 18.30-20.30

For adults | Up to 50 participants
Free admission online preregistration required 


Pre-registration starts on 04/01, at 12.00 

Facilitator: Dimosthenis Papamarkos 

To participate in the Reading Club, it is necessary for those who hold a position to have read the book of the month. (It is also useful to have it with them).

The book Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas is available in Greek from Patakis Publishers.

As part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center's collaboration with the National Library of Greece, the book for the Reading Club has been chosen by NLG staff members.

See also

Sunday 23/10, 17:00

Reading Club: Children’s Book (7-9 years old) | The Invisible Tonino


Saturday 29/10, 17:30

Reading Club: Children’s Book (ages 10–12) | Wonder


Sunday 30/10, 13:00

Reading Club: Teenage Literature | Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin (authors), Giovanni Rigano (illustrator), Illegal