Vasia Tzanakari was born in Serres, Greece, in 1980. She studied English Language & Literature at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki and is finishing her MA in Translation & Translation Studies at the university of Athens. She’s had two books published by Metaichmio Publications. Her first book (2008), a collection of short stories called Eleven little murders: Stories inspired by Nick Cave songs won her a nomination for Best New Author in Diavazo literary magazine awards. Her second book, a novel called Johnny & Lulu came out in 2011. She’s also written various short stories for collective works (Greek Names, Kedros Publications), magazines and websites. She has worked as a journalist, she’s been editor-in-chief of Pop & Rock magazine and she is a translator, having translated works by Ian Rankin, Gillian Flynn, et al. Recently she earned a Scottish Universities’ International Summer School scholarship thanks to which she attended Text and Context programme: Scottish Literature 1900-present, in Edinburgh. She lives in Athens.
Featured Reading Group Title
Johnny and Lulu (Τζόνι και Λούλου)
Lulu is a photographer in her thirties. She and her husband, Johnny, live in Athens. The story begins when Lulu gets fired on May 1st. Johnny had only been working part-time and the couple is now faced with a new reality. Not only have they financial difficulties but also they are forced to put their future plans on hold. They keep looking for a job but they have no luck. While spending the summer in empty and devastated Athens they get a call from Johnny’s aunt, Lila, who tells them about a job for Lulu in Istanbul.
They set out on their trip in their old Skoda. The journey turns out to be a trip down childhood memories, hard family relationships and the beginning of their relationship. They are not all in this road-trip. They are accompanied by a couple of painters, a former sailor, a stiff big-shot lawyer, two sisters that grew up listening to Elvis, a professor who once used to be a record collector, a foul-mouthed female taxi driver, a man who turned into a dog, a cat who wanted to live free and the music that keeps them alive.
Johnny and Lulu go on a trip that seems to be their only hope to save their lives, to have the family they’ve always wanted, to find their lost innocence. It’s a trip that takes them to the unknown future, reconciling them with their past. Or is it?
Johnny & Lulu is a novel about unemployment, love, music, memory and the road which sometimes seems to be the only solution. It’s a book about a generation whose future has been stolen, a generation lost and sacrificed in the name of a crisis; a generation that never stops dreaming.
- Johnny and Lulu is featured in our Greek Reading Group Autumn / Winter 2012-13.
- Sample Johnny and Lulu excerpt (133) translated into English by the author Vasia Tzanakari (downloadable).
- Twitter discussion of Johnny and Lulu on Thursday 8 November 2012, 6.30-7.30 pm GMT with the hashtag #readinggroup
- Here is a review of Johnny and Lulu in the November 2012 issue of World Literature Today.