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Longhand lives — for $5,000 per copy

Poet and publisher Manolis Aligizakis has announced his most extraordinary book--a facsimile of his own handwritten version of Erotokritos, a romantic-epic poem composed by Vitzentzos Kornaros of Crete, a contemporary of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes.

January 08th, 2015

Manolis Aligizakis visiting the tomb of Zorba the Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis in Crete.

This work is being touted as, “The only longhand book of its kind–a long poem 500 years old–transcribed by an 11-year-old boy.”

The text consists of 10,012 fifteen-syllable rhyming verses by Kornaros (March 29, 1553 – 1613/1614) that Manolis hand-copied in 1958 at the age of eleven.

Erotokritos by Vitzentzos Kornaros and Erophile (Eρωϕίλη) by Georgios Hortatzis, written around the same period, constitute the Renaissance of Greek literature. They are also considered the most important works of Cretan literature–“the backbone of Cretan literature,” according to Manolis–and are the poems upon which future poets relied, referred to and drew images from.

Announced on Manolis’ website for Libros Libertad press in January of 2015, this unusual publishing venture will constitute a limited print run of 100 copies, each to be autographed and dedicated by Manolis, for $5,000 per copy.

Manolis, longhand book coverThe original handwritten version of the text was created in the summer of 1958 after his family moved from the suburb of Peristeri in Athens to Hagios Fanourios where his father managed to build their first family home in the north part of the suburb Ilion.

“During that summer my father brought home a copy of the most famous poem Erotokritos. I don’t remember where my father found the book, yet I remember he said I could read it and then he would return it to its owner. Knowing the difficult financial situation of those days and knowing it was almost impossible for us to buy such a book, I read it and day after day, page after page, I copied it…. I used two different colors of pen Bic, for those of us who remember those days.”

Almost sixty years later Manolis is publishing his hand-written version of the romantic-epic poem as a handwritten book. Only the final twelve verses of the 10,012 verses of fifteen syllables each in the Cretan dialect refer to the poet Vitzentzos Kornaros. According to Manolis, the central theme is the love between Erotokritos (referred to as Rotokritos or Rokritos) and Aretousa (referred to as Arete). Around this theme, revolve other themes such as honour, friendship, bravery and courage.

Born in the village of Kolibari on the island of Crete in 1947, Manolis Aligizakis moved with his family at a young age to Thessaloniki and then to Athens, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Sciences from the Panteion University of Athens.

After graduating from the Panteion Supreme School of Athens, he served in the armed forces for two years and immigrated to Vancouver in 1973, after which he worked in several different jobs over the years. He attended Simon Fraser University for a year taking English Literature in a non-degree program. After working as an iron worker, train laborer, taxi driver, and stock broker, he now lives in White Rock.

Towards the end of 2006 he founded Libros Libertad, an independent publishing company in Surrey, B.C. with the goal of publishing literary books most other companies reject, thus giving voice to people who are not listened to by conventional publishers.

Manolis Hawking quote


Autumn Leaves (Ekstasis 2014) $23.95 978-1-77171-033-6

Ubermensch (Ekstasis 2013) $23.95 978-1-897430-97-2 / German translation by Eniko Csekei Thiele, 2013, WINDROSE, Austria.

Nostos and Algos (Ekstasis Editions, 2012) $22.95 978-1-897430-81-1 $22.95 / also Nostos si Algos (Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Dellart Publishers, 2013) translated into Romanian by Lucia Gorea; and translated into Hungarian by Karoly Csiby for Eszmelet [Awareness] (Bratislava, Slovakia: AB-ART Publications, 2014)

Mythography: Paintings by Ken Kirby & Friends, Poetry by Manolis (Libros Libertad, 2012) $30 978-1-926763-21-7

Vortex (Libros Libertad, 2011). Poetry
$18.00 978-1-926763-16-3

Vernal Equinox (Ekstasis Editions, 2011). $21.95 978-1-897430-69-9

The Circle (Libros Libertad, 2011)  9780978182624 $23.00

Opera Bufa (Libros Libertad, 2010) $17.00, 978-1-926763-09-5. A satirical poetry book.

Triptych (Ekstasis Editions, 2010). Poetry

Vespers (Libros Libertad, 2010). Poetry. With art by Ken Kirkby.

Nuances (Ekstasis Editions, 2009). Poetry

Rendition (Libros Libertad, 2009). Poetry.
ISBN: 9780981073590 $14.95

Impulses (Libros Libertad, 2009). Poetry.

Troglodytes (Libros Libertad, 2008). Poetry.

Petros Spathis (Libros Libertad Publishing, 2007). Novel.

El Greco: Domenikos Theotokopoulos (Libros Libertad, 2007). Poetry

Path of Thorns (Libros Libertad, 2006). Poetry

Footprints in Sandstone (Authorhouse, 2006). Poetry

The Orphans: An Anthology (Authorhouse, 2005). Poetry

Stratis Roukounas (Greek language)(Aristidis Mavridis publishing, Athens Greece, 1981). Novel.



Constantine P. Cafavy – Poems, edited by George Amabile (Libros Libertad, 2008)

Yannis Ritsos: Poems (Libros Libertad 2010; Ekstasis 2013)

Cavafy: Selected Poems (Ekstasis 2011) $22.95

George Seferis: Collected Poems (Libros Libertad, 2012)

Cloe and Alexandra (Libros 2013). Translated by Manolis.

Idolaters (Libros 2014) Translated by Manolis. $24.00  978-192-6763347

Tasos Livaditis: Selected Poems (Libros 2014) Translated by Manolis. 978-192-6763354

Erotokritos (Libros 2015) by Vitzentzos Kornaros. $5,000. 978-1-926763-36-1

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