Sophia Sifaki from Greece is the winner of the first Mediterranean environmental-themed short story prize with her story The Treasure.
Sifaki’s story The Treasure spins an enchanting conservation tale in which a young doctor arrives on the small Greek island of Lemnos ready to serve the colourful population, having been charged by her benefactor to discover the hidden treasure of the island.
As part of her prize Sifaki will travel and stay on the Greek Island of Lemnos, one of the Rooted Everyday campaign eco-sites. She’ll be given a guided tour and opportunity to write further on the conservation and cultural heritage issues of the Island and be presented with the competition trophy.
Greek Judge Maria Rousakis said: “I’m very proud to have been a part of the #MedStoryPrize as a judge from Greece. Literature has always been a channel for communication. My hope is that the winning story acts as a means to build awareness around the issues of conservation. We all must strive to preserve the cultural and natural riches of our home, the Mediterranean.”
Winning writer Sophia Sifaki has worked in linguistics and innovative translation technology for almost three decades. After becoming aware of the threat to the centennial forest of Dionysos she joined the ‘Yades’ movement and participated in local elections. She has previously been published in a collect of women’s short stories called Time For Coffee (Lychnos 2007) and Yades (2018). Her poem Belladonna was awarded the 1st place in the 13th Panhellenic Poetry Competition organized by Ideopnoon.
Sifaki said: “Through the competition I became aware of the Rooted Everyday campaign and it became immediately obvious to me that its goals are close to my heart and my efforts to protect nature in the Mediterranean. I immediately felt that I should pick up my pen and write.”
The Runner Up was Jose Ruiz Rosa from Spain with Plant Wisdom, a story told from the perspective of a thousand-year-old tree witnessing man’s destruction and its plea for science, love and wisdom to save them.
Shortlisted stories to receive a Highly Commended award from the judges included Gone by Dr Maria Dalamitrou in which contemporary characters experiences of pain, absence and loss are woven together against the power of Greek mythology and the Mediterranean Sea.
Dalamitrou’s recent works include Fantasy Collection (Anatypo 2018) and poetry collections The Season Before the Last One (AΩ 2010) and Quarter To Men (ΑΩ, 2012). She lives in Patras and works for secondary state schools and is coordinator of a european programme studying the Holocaust and the prevalence of violence and fascism in Europe in adult education.
Dalamitrou said: “What all people have in common is the experience of a pain or a loss; I wish my story to formulate a sympathetic community which is ancient Greek by origin and simultaneously contemporary.”
Novelist Amy Beeson, Chair of Judges said; “The competition was created to give a platform for writers who are passionate about the environment and cultural heritage as part of the Rooted Everyday campaign. The writers have created characters that enable us as readers directly to engage with the hidden wonders of Mediterranean and the environmental challenges ahead.”
The winning five stories including those by Sophia Sifaki and Maria Dalamitrou can be enjoyed in a free eBook which will be available to download on the Rooted Everyday website www.rootedeveryday.org from 8 October 2019. All shortlisted stories will be available to read on the website from 15 October 2019.