Tuesday, 16 June 2020


This is the first book of the ‘’Strange Days in Europe’’ translation series that consists of a total of eight books; five of them are written by authors from five different European countries and three were originally published in Greek by “strange days books’’ and will be translated into Spanish. This book series is co-financed by the European Union's “Creative Europe’’ platform. As a matter of fact, it would not have been possible without it, especially for a small cooperative publishing house in the region of Greece. When your ambition exceeds the reality of the publishing landscape in your country, you ought to seek a way to fulfill it outside its borders. And if you're lucky, you may find it. So thanks to the Creative Europe translation program, which awarded a fund to the proposal of Strange Days Books in 2019 (the only publisher from Greece to receive such an honour), we can now offer to Greek readers some excellent books to which they wouldn’t have been introduced otherwise.
The first one to be published is "The Spinning Heart," by Irish author Donal Ryan, a book that has won many awards including the European Union Literary Prize. All the books in this series were not chosen at random.  We believe you will find a piece of your own "heart" in each of them. “The Spinning Heart” is one of those books that set their seal on their era. It was initially rejected by 47 publishers - who were reluctant to publish it (apparently because it was too realistic for their liking) – yet thankfully found its way to the public and swept awards and distinctions in Donal Ryan’s country and across Europe.
It is a devastating book, one of the most important literary works of our time and a book that is also “ours”. You will immediately realize this when you get engrossed in it and get to know its protagonists. You will recognize very familiar characters, very familiar voices, situations that are very close to us Greeks; not just because the plot unfolds in the years of the economic crisis of the past decade that hurt Ireland as bad as Greece. The similarities go much deeper and essentially extend to the roots of human tragicomedy; we are all the same when it comes to this. But we need a very special work like "The Spinning Heart" to feel it deep in our souls.
Coincidentally, the book was written during the time of a serious economic crisis that affected both Ireland and Greece (as well as many other countries, of course) and is to be released in our country amid a global crisis. It is, by analogy, the "Grapes of Wrath" of the 21st century. But that's just one reason to read it; some of the rest are its unique literary value, the power of narration, the heartbreaking realism in the depiction of the lives of several human figures suffering the consequences of a world in crisis, the unique ingenuity of the way the author speaks through twenty one characters and his mastery of this technique reminiscent of theatrical monologues of different characters through whom he "speaks" to the reader.
The title’s “spinning heart”, as you will see while reading the book, is a rusty toy at the front door of a farmhouse that is blown away by the wind. Through this minimal symbol, Donal Ryan depicts the way our heart turns here and there, a prey to chance, the absurdities of fate and decisions that define our lives in absentia, only to let them drift in the winds of time. Our refuge, now and always, will be art, solidarity and love. The love that surrounds this book; thwarted love, desperate love, lost love and - against all odds – persistent love; love for what has been lost, love for what will never happen, love for what we hope will come. We invite you to this journey of self-knowledge, despair but also hope. “Spinning Heart” is one of those extraordinary books, which, as some reviews pointed out, “you remember forever”. 
TRANSLATION: Gregory Papadoyiannis
COVER BY: Andriana Minou
PAGES: 154
PRICE: 10 euros

Αυτή η εικόνα δεν έχει ιδιότητα alt. Το όνομα του αρχείου είναι cf86cf89cf84cebf.jpgonal Ryan was born near Nenagh, County Tipperary, in 1976. He was a civil servant for many years, and was only able to devote himself to writing from 2014, following the success of The Spinning Heart, the novel he wrote during the evenings of the summer of 2010. Ryan received 47 rejections before finding a publisher. His novels have gathered a great deal of critical acclaim and The Spinning Heart was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He lives in County Limerick with his wife and two children.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Eyelands 10th ISSC - (international section): The Results

We are glad to announce the results of Eyelands.gr & Strange Days Books th short story contest (international section). Theme: Numbers
FIRST PRIZElogo eyelands
The Long Lost Bottom  by Kathryn Holzman / USA
 Sixteen, by Kate Wickers / UNITED KINGDOM/
57, by Anna Voronko / USA/
Living By Numbers , by Liz Gwinnell / UNITED KINGDOM /

SHORT LIST (in submission order)
Michael K. Bourdaghs /Counting Sheepish           
Michael Knapp / Lucky paws
Judith Brulo /The Very Large Very Quiet House
Charles Osborne /Double Identity
Jill Yates / Fourteen Plus Two
John Roberts / Twentyone Today 
Elliott Wagner-Smith / Ηow to be human 
Angus Whitty /Supermarket    
Yvonne Bruce / An Age Old Lie 
Αtefe Roozbahani / You are or not              
Angela Fitzpatrick/The Unfortunate Life of Quin Toller  
Suzette Leal /The Sevens       
Taria Karillion / Countdown to…                                    
Eleni Kyritsi/Numerophilia

Christina Demertsidou/Sia
Vincent Budzinski/ It Takes Two To Tango 
Laura Fisher / Lucky Numbers    
Henrik Hillenbrand /Two Four Three              
Caroline McEvoy/Neighbours
Kevin Scully /It’s only money
Lucas Gortemaker & Brent de Nef/ They tell me my dog is black
Ryan Gibbs/ The Seven Wonders of Cagliari
Mary Guise /Counting the Days  
logo eyelands
Brief bio of the first prize winner:
Kathryn Holzman lives and writes in New England with her husband, a digital artist. Her short fiction has appeared in both online literary magazines and print anthologies. She is the author of a collection of short fiction, FLATLANDERS, Shire Press 2019. Her first novel REAL ESTATE is being published by Propertius Press in Fall, 2020. Links to her work can be found at kathrynholzman.com.
Liz Gwinnell was the first prize winner in Eyelands 5th ISSC in 2015 (Borderline Stories)  with her story «Waiting For My Tomorrow» and received a distinction in Eyelands 6th (Colours)
Judge: Gregory Papadoyiannis.
First prize is a 5 day holiday at Three Rock, Crete, in August/ September 2020. The grand prize winning writer will be a guest of honour and present his/her story and his/her work in the 6th Sand Festival. Air tickets not included. She will also get a handmade ceramic gift.
The three prize winners will also get a free copy of the book with the winning stories of our contest & a special gift and certification document plus publication in the anthology of the shortlisted stories of the contest (Greek section), translated in Greek –and a free copy of this book too!
  • All the shortlisted stories will be published in the anthology. The book will be released through “Strange Days” publications and www.amazon.com in November, 2020. All the shortlisted writers will also get a free copy of the book!
  • An interview with the first prize winner will also be featured in eyelands.gr
  • In case the first prize winner does not claim the prize of staying till the end of the 10th of July 2020, the second (and then the third) prize winner will be notified in order to take her/his place.
Prize stories will be  published in two different anthologies (Greek and English).  All the stories of the shortlist will be published in November 2020 in a special English edition, released also  through amazon.com & strange days books.
Congratulations to all!! It is a pity that according to the rules we have not the ability to make the list longer, although it was the greatest year so far as for the quality of the stories submitted.
*Due to the circumstances the 5 days holiday-prize is a stay at Three Rock, Triopetra, Crete, instead of the island of Serifos. Sand Festival will also take place on the island of Crete instead of Serifos but it is the winner’s decision if she choose her stay at the days of the Sand Festival. Additionally, the first prize winner can postpone her holidays in Crete for the next summer.