Daring and art characterize Voula Mastori’s work, which is aimed at children and teenagers. Daring, because it deals with complex social subjects and situations relating to adolescence, such as divorce, sexual abuse, the physical and emotional upheavals girls experience in their teens and male homosexuality; and art, because it handles them with literary style and a wealth of narrative techniques (alternative view points, parallel narration, confessional writing, etc.) that render her texts excellent examples of this literary genre. By her original, and bold for Greek standards, projection and defence of female problems and situations, Voula Mastori has successfully established these social issues within children’s and teenage literature since 1991, with her book In High School.
Her literary style, ingenuity and child’s point of view also characterize her short stories for young children, as well as her knowledge books, accentuating the importance of these new literary genres in the area of children’s books.
I believe that Voula Mastori’s multifaceted -in terms of style, subjects and complex issues handled- literary work should deservedly compete for the Andersen Award and I wholeheartedly wish her to win, honoring Greek children’s literature both at the national and international levels.
Anastasia Katsiki – Givalou, Professor of Greek Literature,
National & Kapodistrian University of ,Primary Education Faculty-Humanities Department Athens
The selection of Voula Mastori to represent Greece for the 2008 Andersen Award is an excellent one since the writer, apart from her extensive and exceptional work, dares to speak to children about thorny matters such as mixed marriages and the self-identity problems faced by children born into them, multi-ethnic school classes and divorce. A tangible example of her talent and sensitivity is her book “The snowman’s taken mom”, in which, adopting first person narration, a small child recounts and comments on serious social issues in an absolutely truthful and convincing manner.
I believe that Voula Mastori’s nomination for the 2008 Andersen Award is wholly justified and noteworthy, since, apart from being a prolific and highly successfully writer of both short stories for young children and fiction for teenagers and adults, her subjects and the way she handles them has always been on the cutting edge of contemporary Greek children’s literature as, for example, In High School (1991), in which she proves that writers can speak to children about everything (death, divorce, sexual abuse, erotic desire, female identity, etc), provided they avoid didactic lecturing and place their trust in their creative mythmaking and writing abilities.
Diamanti Anagnostopoulou, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature,
University of the
Aegean, Department of Preschool Education and Educational Design
In Voula Mastori’s writing, contemporary society is portrayed with boldness and sincerity, but also with a child’s fresh point of view. The stories of her young characters depict in miniature, but with particular precision, the history of her country and her time. With the wisdom of innocence, vital turning points in a child’s life are traced, like the first day at school or the parents’ divorce, along with broader phenomena that have a catalytic influence on the child, like immigration, multiculturality and the coexistence of people of different countries within a given school community or even within a family (The Snowman’s Taken Mum Away).
Her work also highlights the timeless and unsolvable mysteries of birth, death, and (lonely) life in the modern city (A Teeny Hand Dipped in Syrup).
The brave coming of age and the painful route to self-knowledge and knowledge of the outer world are subsumed in the penetrative mapping of a society that evolves, surpassing its wounds and facing new others. The low-key, purling writing of Voula Mastori succeeds in blending the individual with the collective, the naïve with the tragic, in a most natural, sensitive and powerful manner. I hope that she will be the one to bring the 2008 Andersen Award to
Alexandra Zervou, Professor,
University of Crete
In the work of the prolific writer Voula Mastori, readers can discover many truths about human life and the problems of youth. Her powerful fiction transforms the human experience into a narrative of life that is versatile and bold. Her style and technique have been successfully tried in books for children of all ages, considerably advancing contemporary literature for children in our country. She is a gifted writer who handles her subjects with originality in both conception and narration. Tackling subjects such as racism, sexuality or the sensitive psychological issues of puberty, she has provided decisive answers, enriching her material with a variety of narrative techniques while offering us the delight of truth in literature. Without being didactic and with a clear intention to understand otherness, she defends the necessity of offering children the truth consistently and in a literary manner. I regard her nomination for the Andersen Award as a further recognition of the value of her work on a global level and I hope she receives it.
Georgia Kalogirou, Assistant professor,
University of Athens
An element that characterizes Voula Mastori’s literary work is the originality of her topics. It would not be an exaggeration if one said that, like an oracle, she foresees the future issues that will be taken up by children’s literature. She was the first in her country who dared to write about otherness and corporal individuality even when addressing young children, which demands delicate and sensitive handling. Voula Mastori listens to the universal social gestalt and deftly reshapes it into literary axiom capable of inspiring demanding contemporary readers. She has been deservedly nominated for an award of this caliber, since she has been worthily serving the “global” literature for children and teenagers for over thirty years. I heartily wish her good luck!
Tasoula Tsilimeni, Assistant Professor,
University of Thessaly
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