Here is a story on Manolis published today in print and on the Net.
From Greece to driving cabs to ‘The Circle’ for Surrey’s Manolis
By Carolyn Cooke
August 25, 2011
It may not be a quiet retirement exactly, but local poet, author and publisher Manolis is certainly finding it a fulfilling one.
Libros Libertad, the publishing company started by Manolis and run from his South Surrey home office, turns five years old this month. The goal, from the beginning, the 64-year-old said, was to give authors and poets an opportunity to work with a proper publisher and see their writings in print.
“I do this for the goodness of the world,” he said.
Manolis doesn’t draw a salary from the company and, in fact, the retired stockbroker does some investing on Libros’ behalf to help make ends meet.
He is happy to see both his own and others’ writings make it to print, which is no small feat in the very competitive world of book publishing. And, he said, he is happy to be able to “please a few people by publishing their works.”
Manolis, who is originally from Greece, penned many works in his native tongue before immigrating to Canada in 1973. He worked at a number of jobs before settling into a career in the financial world, all the time writing poems and even a few novels.
His latest work is The Circle, a novel born shortly after the beginning of the war in Iraq.
“It’s a look at war from the point of view of the citizen – what happens to him once the bombs stop falling,” Manolis said.
In it, a number of young orphaned Iraqi men are brought to the U.S. to be educated, as sort of atonement for the horrors of war. There, the young men find their anger and emotional scars festering into hatred, focused on that which their former occupiers most value: money.
That kind of deep-set hatred for a past national foe is something Manolis knows firsthand. He explained that growing up in Greece, children were taught to hate the Turks, their former occupiers.
“When a child hears this again and again, you carry it inside you no matter what benign form it might be in, and it comes out eventually.”
For him, it was when he drove a cab in Vancouver back in the 1980s. Manolis said he picked up a fare who asked where he was from, and in return he asked the passenger his country of origin. When the man answered Turkey, Manolis said the intensity of his reaction to the man shocked him, especially as he was in his 30s and an otherwise mature, rational person.
Of course, nothing passed between the two men, but it did inspire a story that was published in a Greek magazine, and it later served again as context for The Circle.
For the most part, though, the writer’s first love is poetry. He has published a number of his own volumes of poetry so far, in addition to the work of others.
And recently his wordsmithing has taken a collaborative turn in that he has a number of artists who supply images of their works and Manolis pens poems to accompany them in beautifully crafted book form. Fans of both poetry and visual art will want to keep an eye out for the release by Libros next year, with 10 artists contributing seven images each to be paired with poems. The working title is Mythography, and it promises to be quite stunning.
For now, you can find books from the Libros Libertad catalogue in a growing number of stores, which are listed on the publisher’s website, libroslibertad.ca.
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