Saturday 16 December 2023
In December, the Children’s Reading Club for young booklovers aged 9 to 12 continues its meetings, facilitated by author Angeliki Darlasi. Angeliki Darlasi is a writer of prose and theatrical plays, while she has also engaged with television and cinema. Among her awarded works are: The Boy in the Royal Box, Badboy, When We Hid an Angel, and Dream Guardians.
In 1796 France, Jean Valjean, a very poor young man, steals a loaf of bread. He is arrested and taken to prison, where he spends nineteen years. When he is eventually released, almost no one is willing to give shelter to the former convict. No one, except one man, whom, however, Valjean betrays by stealing from him. When he is arrested again, his benefactor will give him a second chance – believing that everyone deserves a second chance. Indeed, Valjean takes advantage of this opportunity and radically changes his life, paying it forward by giving second chances to other people in need, thus affecting their lives too.
Les Misérables is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, a literary masterpiece that was adored by readers of its time, and has since continued to stir young and old readers of every era. The book’s characters, such as the dreaded police inspector Javert, the young girl Cosette, the fearless urchin Gavroche, and above all the courageous Jean Valjean, have become archetypes, indelibly marked in the memory of countless readers.
So, if you enjoy suspenseful adventures, stories of distant times that are still relevant and inspiring today, tales about courageous people and powerful characters, you can read this book and join us in talking about justice, resentment and forgiveness, kindness and humanity, about whether people can really change, and so much more…
The author: Victor Hugo
He was a French novelist, poet and dramatist, and is considered one of the greatest French writers of all time.
He was born on February 26, 1802, in a city of eastern France. In 1813, after the separation of his parents, Hugo and his siblings with their mother settled permanently in Paris, where they were barely able to make ends meet. From 1815 to 1818, Hugo lived in a boarding school, while also attending lectures at Lycée Louis le Grand. At a very young age, Hugo started writing poems and translating Latin poets. For his poems he was awarded as early as the age of 15. He started studying at Law School, but soon dropped out to devote himself to literature. He often lived under very difficult conditions (even coexisting with rats), but he wrote with great diligence, perseverance and confidence, virtues of which he was never short.
He wrote poetry, prose and theatrical plays, and his work received great acclaim and recognition. He was also active in visual arts and politics. He was one of the most daring human rights activists of his time.
He died from pneumonia on May 22, 1885, at the age of 83. He was buried as a national hero in the Pantheon of Paris.
His work influenced many writers in subsequent years, and is still extremely influential. Books of his have been adapted several times for theater, cinema and television.
The adapter: Michalis Makropoulos
He was born in Athens in 1965. He studied biology at the University of Athens and has been working as a literary translator from English and French, having translated several works by prominent writers. He lived in Thessaloniki for nine years. He now lives in Lefkada with his wife (also a translator, as well as a storyteller) and their two children, and spends long periods of time in Delvinaki of Pogoni in Epirus. He has written and published eleven books for adults and several books for children. He has been awarded the Greek National Literary Award for Short Story or Novella (2019) and the Greek National Literary Award for Children’s Fiction (2021).
A writer of literature for children and young adults, playwright and teacher of creative writing and theater.
Works and books of hers have been translated into English, Turkish, Korean, Spanish, and French. Her books have been adapted for theater (most recently, The Boy in the Royal Box, by the National Theater of Greece, 2021-2022) and puppetry performances, while some are in the pre-production stage to be adapted into films (on screenplays by the author herself), in Greece and abroad.
She has participated as co-author in productions of the State Theaters of Karlsruhe and Uppsala and the National Theater of Luxembourg (2021 & 2022), and the Union des Théâtres del'Europe (2018). Several plays of hers have been staged in Athens: Lighthouse–SNFCC, Athens Concert Hall, Art Theatre Readers’ Theatre Festival, Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People, Alkmini Theater, Amore Theater–stage B, et al. She has been repeatedly awarded and distinguished for her work (both prose and theatre).
Since 2006, she has been teaching Creative Writing and/or Theater to adults and children-teenagers, working with both public and private organizations (e.g. The Department of Theatre Studies of the University of Peloponnese, public and private post-secondary vocational schools, Metaichmio Publications, etc.). She is a motivational speaker and facilitator of activities for children and adolescents (creative writing, theater, arts and education, love of reading, etc.).
She holds degrees from the Athens University Department of Theatre Studies and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (MA in Performance Studies).
Activities for children before the Book Club meeting
A few things that you may want to think and take notes about before our meeting, so we can share and discuss them when we meet:
• Writer Victor Hugo said: “Les Misérables was written for all nations. I do not know whether it will be read by all, but I wrote it for all…” Why do you think he said that? How would you comment on it? Do you believe that he might have been inadvertently referring to our time as well?
• If something in this book inspired you to write your own short story about justice or injustice, you may write it up and share it with us.
Saturday 16/12, 17.30-19.00
NLG Kids Lab
Up to 22 participants
Free admission, with online preregistration
Preregistration starts on 01/12 at 12.00
Anyone reserving a seat at the Book Club is required to have read the book of the month. (Also, it is recommended that children bring the book with them.)
Children should always be accompanied by parents or adult attendants who should not be away from the outdoor activity.
The book is available (in Greek) from Dioptra Publications.
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.