Andriana writes poetry and fiction in Greek and English and her work has been published by Strange Days Books, poetix, Entefktirio, eyelands, Mandragoras, chimeres, codepoetry (Greece), Story Brewhouse, FIVE:2:ONE magazine, typehouse magazine, Maintenant Dada (U.S.A.), The Paper Nautilus, rattle journal (U.K.), Sand Journal (Berlin), anti-languorous (Canada) and more. Her latest book, 'The Fabulous Dead' was released in March 2020 by Kernpunkt Press (New York). You may also read an interview by Andriana for Reading Greece here.
photo by Evi Minou
Her first book, "Underage Noirs" is a collection of short stories published by Strange Days Books. Underage Noirs is a collection of short stories that could be read separately but could also be regarded as a single work of literary fiction, as the conceptual thread running through them is quite distinct. Almost all Underage Noirs tell the stories of couples and deal with the need of individuals to re-invent themselves within the frame of relating with their objects of desire; this process can be comical or tragic or (usually) tragicomic. It’s all a game, for which everyone seems to be underage, including the author as well as the reader. Characters from Greek mythology as well as from classic film noirs co-exist in a variety of disguises throughout the book. The stories are drawing from the themes of complex emotion versus sentimentality, the craving and terror of togetherness, otherness as something adorable, the mysterious mental state of enamoured subjects, shuffling the archetypal/mythical roles of lovers, and more. The evergreen clichés of romantic love affairs (especially their manifestations in classic film noirs) are deconstructed and reconstructed in unexpected ways, and language is used as an instrument to approach physicality, often ignoring grammar, syntax and punctuation in order to highlight its musical qualities.
Underage Noirs featured in LIFO magazine’s list of 40 Books you MUST read this season, described as “paradoxical, funny, tender, subversive, foulmouthed, melancholic, cynical, romantic, provocative … Underage Noirs is unlike anything else you have read until now!”. Athens Voice magazine wrote: “In this book, addressed to every literature lover, Andriana Minou brings to mind the best moments of Calvino, Saramango, Queneau and Cortasar, taking us on a dream-like journey through words”. It was also the publisher’s official pick for 2014, featuring in the newspaper Eleftherotypia as “a book you fall in love with at first sight”. The book was reprinted in a second edition in September 2016.
SUNDAY by Fil Ieropoulos
In December 2014 four film-makers created four short films, based on stories from "Underage Noirs". The films created by Fil Ieropoulos, Eirini Kartsaki, Evi Minou and Thodoris Tsintsonis tried to capture the variety of moods in the book and were screened at the book launch in independent cinema, Cinemarian in Athens. You can watch the films below!
BLOODY BASTARDS by Evi Minou / Heart Attack Films
KINDERSZENEN by Thodoris Tsintsonis
In 2016, pianist and composer, Kaja Draksler asked Andriana for some poems to set into music with her jazz ensemble, Kaja Draksler Octet. The songs are included in the Octet's debut album and are being performed in many prestigious venues around Europe. You may vist Kaja's website for more or you may even buy the Octet's album, "Gledalec", released by Clean Feed Records
OMELETTIO AD ABSURDUM
Eggs look so innocent
Eggs look so enigmatic
Every time I see an egg
I just want to break it
To see what’s inside
But it looks so innocent
It breaks my heart
To break it
And it looks so enigmatic
It breaks my brain
Not to break it
But it looks
Egg still unbroken
OMELETTIO AD ABSURDUM performed by the Kaja Draksler Octet live at The Bimhuis 20/5/2016
In October 2017 Dream-mine, Andriana's second book was published by Strange Days Books. while excerpts of its English version was also published at FIVE:2:ONE magazine (May 2017, print issue). The book was presented in the form of a music performance/installation at Atopos CVC as part of UNESCO's Athens World Book Capital.
Its English version, Hypnotic Labyrinth, was published by Verbivoracious Press in their special volume dedicated to the Oulipo movement.
Hypnotic Labyrinth is a set of 22 hybrid texts (prosetry) with two entrances or exits. The texts function as “rooms” in an imaginary labyrinth of dreamscapes. The internal rhythm of words and sentences often transforms language into internally spoken music, in an attempt to bring to life the writer’s and characters’ voices for the reader to listen to internally; the reader is invited to abandon him/herself to streams of words, images and implications. The book itself, as an object, acquires the role of a compass or a map used by the reader in the course of his/her journey through the labyrinth of the texts. Therefore some of the texts should be printed normally in portrait layout, some in landscape layout facing right or left and some upside down in portrait layout. This way the act of reading itself becomes a clearly performative action as the reader is required to turn the book around according to the text orientation in order to read it, the way she/he would turn a map around in order to find his/her way out of a labyrinth.
You may click here if you would like to buy a copy of this beautiful volume.
In December 2018, her third book, allouterra was released by Strange Days Books; it is a collection of dream-scapes that first appeared at assodyo online journal. The book consists of texts, sketches and soundscapes of hers (accessible via qr code). It was first launched in the Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival in April 2019 as a performance and video installation (by Evi Minou).
About allouterra: If literature is usually a temporary escape, worthwhile literature provides a permanent escape from the nightmares of normality in such a way that even after the reading has ended, the images keep accompanying the reader, offering not an antidote to the dead-ends of reality, but an alternative way of perceiving it within a space where all is too charming (not) to be true. Andriana Minou's poetics show us the way to dream of reality.
(Review by Gregory Papadoyiannis at Fractal Art magazine)
The Fabulous Dead is Andriana's fourth book and her first full-length book to be published in English. It was released by Kernpunkt Press in March 2020.
THE FABULOUS DEAD is a collection of very short stories, that might belong to the imaginary genre of "un-historical fiction," a type of literature that deals with the undoing of history and its reweaving into poetic images resembling surreal fables. In THE FABULOUS DEAD, famous (and fabulous) dead characters find themselves in dream-like situations or influence the living in unexpected ways. Brahms is a sauerkraut addict having telephone troubles, Marlene Dietrich lives in an ice-cream freezer, Claude Francois becomes the reason for a revolution, Wittgenstein is boiling in a pot of soup, Scott of the Antarctic wants to learn the piano, princess Alexandra of Bavaria decides to take a job as a pianist on a cruise-ship, Julius Caesar is humiliated by a bowl of gutted fish and a mysterious seagull, Virginia Woolf, Sarah Kane and Sylvia Plath drink bloody Marys in the living room, Gus Grissom has a secret affair with Dante's Beatrice. The result is an intricate mosaic of thoughts seeking their stories, almost forcing themselves into them; thoughts on identity, individuality, uniqueness, life-purposes and lives wasted or enjoyed. THE FABULOUS DEAD is, perhaps above all, a ball-masque oscillating between the eternal and the ephemeral.
It is through her composition and arrangement of the short stories that Minou keeps us hooked. A trained musician, Minou creates each short story to work as a smaller musical composition in a larger concert of the short story collection. Each is a separate story from the other, but they all have the goal of bringing those that are considered the fabulous dead back into the narrative and give them a new purpose, that of interacting with the narrator and deconstructing what we know about them and even ourselves in the process.
(Christina Ghent, Heavy Feather Review)
Even though there is nothing new under the sun, the reader is frequently blindsided by unexpected literary devices within this life-giving darkness Minou has invented.
(Gregory Papadoyiannis, Another Chicago Magazine)
The book is available to order on Amazon, SPD, Bookshop, Kernpunkt and many more online bookshops. Goodreads page also available here