Koraly Dimitriades, a Cypriot Australian poet, writer, and performer is launching the Greek translation of her poetry book ‘Love and F**K Poems’, which is a bestseller in Australia. Dimitriades, well-known in Australia for her outspoken and alternative writing, will present her poetry book on June 29 at 341 Creative Spaces in Limassol and on July 1 at Prozak in Nicosia.
“Love and F**K Poems is a novel in verse, although each poem can be read on its own. It is a snapshot in time of a Greek woman fleeing her marriage, on a quest to explore her sexual identity. Her migrant culture had previously repressed this need for an identity search,” Dimitriades told The Cyprus Weekly.
Dimitriades, in collaboration with Cypriot independent publisher and writer Konstandina Ioannidou secured funding from the Australian Council Artstart to implement writing projects including the translation into Greek of Dimitriades’ bestselling poetry book, and the creation of four short films that will be released in Cyprus for the first time.
As Dimitriades explained, the process of translating the poetry book was unique, as poet and translator worked closely together. “We would sit in a room together and we would read the poem in English. For every line I would explain to her what I wanted to convey and then I would suggest its Greek translation. Konstandina would then suggest how to translate it in Greek.”
Dimitriades is also working on another long term project- a novel titled ‘Misplaced’ set in Cyprus and Melbourne. The book’s main theme is the nostalgia for the home country that migrants pass on to their children. As the child of Cypriot immigrants to Australia, Dimitriades is particularly interested in the identity struggle often experienced by people torn between the culture of the country they live in and that of their ancestors.
“I am thankful for my two cultures, although it was always a struggle to feel at home in Australia. I am drawn to Cyprus and always wanted to live here. There are positives and negatives to this dual identity – I never feel quite accepted in Australia, or here in Cyprus. I am always a bit of an outsider,” she said.
The Greek translation of the poetry book will be printed in Cyprus by ASTAMAN publishing company, set up by Ioannides who was also responsible for the translation. “I chose to do the printing in Cyprus to show the world that we can produce very high quality literature that is verbally competitive. A lot of people think there are no opportunities here, but I believe that there are good opportunities. I think that publishing a book in Cyprus will actually help my profile in Australia, and that because Cyprus is small in size word of mouth promotion can work very well,” Dimitriades said.
In Australia, Dimitriades has already gained acceptance for her literary work. She is currently represented by the country’s leading talent agency Profile Talent Management, while publishing house Pan Macmillan has purchased the digital rights of her poetry book.
However, as Dimitriades explained, getting published in Australia was not an easy task for a Cypriot immigrant known for her outspoken and alternative work. “The literary culture in Australia is very English and in this sense it is difficult for a migrant writer to get published. I am well-known in Australia for being outspoken, raw, and confronting. So it was difficult.”
To overcome this difficulty, Dimitriades took matters into her own hands and set up her own publishing company, Outside the Box Press. Having achieved her aim of printing her poetry book, Dimitriades also undertook the task of making it available to the public. “I would take a few copies to a bookshop, they’d sell out and then take more, and then to another bookshop. In the end, the poetry book became a bestseller, essentially through word of mouth.”