Literature as a European Mothertongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them three questions based on text production, reception and mediation. In case you always wanted to know how a literary activist in Nicosia looks like, meet Avgi Lilli!
Have you ever participated in collaborative author/reader projects? And if so, what do you find interesting about it?
Yes, I have, here in Cyprus in 2012 and in 2013. Since I haven’t had this fulfilling experience in a while, I am looking forward to the 2016 Crowd Omnibus Tour! What I find most interesting about collaborative projects in general, whether readings or other activities are concerned, is the actual interaction not only between the artists but between the works themselves. As other works are somehow involved in the presentation of your own artwork, there is always a new point of view in it, a new meaning, a new perception. I am particularly interested in intertextuality, theoretically and practically, therefore collaborative projects are always greatly inspiring for me, because of their intertextuality potentials.
What is your favorite literary spot in …? (literary venue, bar, meeting area, city, etc.) Please do give us a link to the website of the spot / area.
One of the best places of my hometown Nicosia for readers and writers is The Weaving Mill in the old town. Prozac café is also another cosy place where lots of literary events take place. However, I am more of a bar fan, so I would recommend Notes and Spirits and Granazi bars in Nicosia, both with a unique character and great tunes. I should also mention New Division, a classic spot for Nicosia residents. I don’t go there often any more, but this place gave me lots of inspiration, since I have quite a few poems that were “conceived”’ or written there! Last, wondering around the small streets of Nicosia Old Town, particularly around the Famagusta Gate and the Archebishop’s Palace, is one of the most cliché yet authentic “literary” experiences one could have in Nicosia. A new street, a new wall, a new route, a new story is revealed every time.
Parakentro, located in Lemythou, a village in the Troodos Mountain, is a cultural centre/publishing house that supports Cypriot artists. Pambos and Costas undertake excellent projects, whether their own or other artists. I always follow their work.
Which recent literary event fascinated you the most and why? (Please give us the link to the website of the event)
I really enjoyed and was motivated by Sardam Alternative Literary Readings Festival last October. This is a new festival in Cyprus which gets better every year, hosting interesting workshops and artists from Cyprus and abroad.
Another event I found notable was the Second International Literary Festival last October-November. Although I missed it, the videos I saw confirmed its significance and the good vibe.
One of the most fascinating projects I saw happening is the OWK Zine, a Riso print project designed and published in Cyprus, which is actually an independent visual library for graphic design, illustration, photography, art and creative writing in Cyprus. Its first volume was presented along with an exhibition at a historical library in Nicosia.
How do you feel about readers’ comments and feedback to your texts? Does it affect / alter your subsequent writing?
If it’s a published or a finished work, I wouldn’t say that comments alter the form or the content of the poem, although they are considered and taken seriously. Feedback in general is always welcome, as it most importantly gives you another perspective of your own work and writing. In some cases, when the opinion of a more experienced or an acclaimed artist is requested for an unpublished or unfinished work, feedback is more than necessary. Actually, I have recently done some alterations on a poem, after the remarks of a Cypriot poet whom I respect deeply.
Foto © Evagoras Xydas