“PILF 2022 – WHERE LIFE MEETS LITERATURE!”
Interview with Irene Doura-Kavadia
Interviewer: Dimitris Kanavvos
Date and time: Monday: December 20, 2021
Supported by: Hellenic Media Group
By Dimitrios Kanavvos
In our era just a little before another year will become a memory of the past, we as mankind have the pleasure and the duty to highlight all the massive efforts made by some inspiring people towards the creation of a better world. One of those people is Greek author, poet, educationist, manager and cultural promoter, Irene Doura-Kavadia. She is the author of 16 books that have been published in different languages and she has compiled several anthologies as Editor-in-Chief of Writers Edition Guild. Her educational and literary books are taught in various private institutions across the globe. She is Secretary-General of Writers Capital International Foundation based in Greece, Member of Board of the World Philosophical Forum Annex Greece, a member of the UNESCO Arts, Letters and Sciences, of the Greek Cultural Heritage, Executive Member of the International Who Is Who Awards, International Writers Association USA, and many other literary and cultural associations across the globe. In this interview Irene Doura-Kavadia spoke of the upcoming PANORAMA INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE FESTIVAL of which she is Host and Vice-Chairperson, as well as about her projects for the new year 2022.
Irene, a wholehearted thank-you for this interview!
Thank you, Dimitris for the kind invitation to this interview!
- Irene, you are a distinguished personality, promoting culture as a manager, in fact internationally recognized, as well as an ambassador to your country abroad. Since when have you been doing it and why?
– A few years ago I started inspiring young aspiring poets and writers to find their best inclination and then promoting them within my country as much as I could. Mainly showing them the right path to take, to enter contests and to make a name for themselves. Since then, many societies and associations have asked me to help promote their members, which I gladly did. Following the litterateurs, I had the idea to also promote the artistic team of my country within Greece and abroad. Everyone welcomed my initiative and we participated with great success in international art and literature exhibitions under my coordination. After becoming an important part of an international organization, all of this has become my daily life! I think it is a privilege and an honour to promote one’s country around the world and also to be among the intellectuals of their time. But it’s not just that. The goal is to do something meaningful, to be able to exchange ideas, hopes and dreams among the members of the contemporary literary and artistic generation… To reduce fears, to fight for a better world all together as one. To educate and inspire the next generation, our future! Inspiration, thus, goes even higher and the sky is not even the limit!
- Awesome, indeed. You are the Secretary-General of Writers Capital International Foundation. Please, let us know some things about this international organization. In what year was the foundation born and what motivated you to become a part of it?
– Writers Capital Foundation was born as a concept and founded by author, thinker, and humanitarian Preeth Nambiar, President of the Foundation, in 2017 and spans more than 50 countries. It has been recognized by the United Nations and supports the objectives and scope of UNESCO and Unicef. In fact, the organization will celebrate its 5 years of existence in 2022, a year full of projects too, marked by the Panorama Literature festival in January.
Writers Capital is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious international organization dedicated to writers, artists and others in the creative field around the world, with the aim of inspiring them to contribute to the cause of humanity and world peace. The main objective of the foundation is to prepare authors and creators to assume leadership in social change. To help build a world beyond borders, where a myriad of lives harmoniously coexist while respecting the perennial values applicable to the entire planet and beyond. This can be achieved by reaching the grassroots to educate and inspire people to achieve the concept of one-world and to take responsibility for protecting the planet from the challenges of time.
In our foundation we have for the above purposes various departments that work in 4 different axes with a view to our Social, Educational, Environmental and Charitable Mission. So far we have been recognized for generating and fostering academic interest in literature and the arts in general, as well as for promoting and disseminating the academic activities of our members through publications and various programs. Inspiring them to uphold humanitarian values and to spread the message of world peace and harmony, we always emphasize the importance of uniting cultures and nations as one. By mentoring students and youth to educate and improve their skills for creative writing and creation, we also advance the course of peace, providing a platform for all concerned.
By bringing everyone together, we encourage free discussion on peace issues and related social and philosophical issues, thereby promoting the principles of non-violence and inspiring equality and stability. All these activities provide opportunities for members and guests to broaden their horizons and gain international perspective and, when it comes to young people, engage them in eliminating xenophobia, harassment or peer pressure – peer pressure/bullying.
My participation in this organization took place last year following an important collaboration after the previous Panorama festival when I was appointed Director of my country Greece and shortly after Secretary-General of the International Foundation. From the first day I have dedicated myself totally to humanity, in an effort to contribute with all my power to the activities assumed by the foundation towards a better world.
- We are immensely happy to learn that in Greece we have the base of this important Foundation that promotes the values of humanity across the globe. We understand that you are very busy these days organizing the grand Panorama International Literature Festival (PILF) 2022 as Vice-Chairperson. When is it due to start?
- Actually, we have all been very busy organizing the Festival since August, as a great team comprising of more than a hundred people divided into four committees are constantly working to produce a festival unlike any other in the world! A festival which will combine literature with philosophy on a physical and metaphysical level, as it aims at bringing together the best poets and writers from across the globe in a unique celebration – where Life meets Literature! The Panorama 2022 International Literature Festival will start on the first of January and will last throughout the month. Let me introduce you to the details of the event:
The signature programme of the Writers Capital Foundation, which is dedicated to spreading the powerful values of humanity through literature, the Panorama International Literature Festival (PILF) is primarily intended to aid cultural exchange and enable writers to broaden their horizons and their understanding of the world.
Unlike other literature festivals, PILF is conceived as literary sanctuaries where delegates have the unique opportunity to visit various places in the area where the festival takes place and have a deep experience of the place and the cultural vibrancy that we believe will help in shaping the future of a writer. Due to the pandemic, PILF 2022 is being carried out in most countries virtually, however, it is designed in a way that ensures a greater impact among participants. In addition, this year it will be a multilingual event, that is, poets will have the opportunity to recite their poems in their mother tongue. In addition to poetry eminent writers from around the world will participate in the event which will also feature speakers giving lectures on the subject. Last, but not least, there will be Live Zoom Sessions, in which the 6 most acknowledged litterateurs will represent their country worldwide!
For further information please visit: www.panoramafestival.org
- A festival well worth taking part in! What is the main objective of this International Literature Festival?
- The main objective of the Panorama festival, as well as the goal of the Writers Capital Foundation is to bring together writers in order for them to share their experiences, knowledge and to further extend their caliber. We also aim at providing writers with a great platform for their vivid expression. The festival gives poets the opportunity to present their works in almost 50 countries around the world! We therefore try to help the poet and the writer on the path of their development to create their own footprints in the world of literature. We believe that it is our primary responsibility to act for social causes and our goal is to reinforce the values of humanity that would benefit the entire world. In our organization we have a VISION – to help build a world beyond borders, where a myriad of lives coexist harmoniously while respecting the perennial values applicable to the entire planet. Our MISSION is to come together to inspire people to achieve the concept of a united and caring world.
- The themes of this festival are chosen with great care; what theme have you chosen for the year 2022?
– The Panorama festival is thematic, where themes are carefully chosen in order to prepare a writer for meaningful works in their profession. Well, yes, each time the theme is unique. Last year it was about Nature and raising awareness on environmental issues. The theme of PILF 2022 is The Celestial Void, one of the genesis elements of the world. A poetic, apocalyptic and philosophical theme. But not only this dimension is to be analyzed. The void can be all around us, even within. Sometimes we experience a feeling of emptiness, perhaps when we look at the serene skies in the morning, see a beautiful sunset, or even when someone leaves us. We often recognize that this is the void from which we came and to which we all return: the nothing, from which everything evolves! This has been a favorite subject for poets of bygone and there are a number of classic works inspired by the same sense of emptiness that the writer experienced at some stages in their life. Poets are therefore prompted to investigate the depths and to unravel the mysteries of creation itself, sharing their ideas and conclusions in the form of a poem or speech that will convey their personal approach to this all-time mystery of the beginning of life. Therefore, we invite all poets to meditate on the subject, compose a work for eternity and send us a video with their introduction to the subject and their magnificent poetry or their lecture on the theme. The works will be displayed on our social media pages and will be available on the global network, ensuring their visibility in the future as well.
- What are the Golden Panorama Book Awards and what are the requirements that apply for these awards?
- Part of the Panorama festival is the opportunity for writers from around the world to showcase their books and claim one of the awards that will ensure their prestige and recognition worldwide. If you have already published a book, in any language, kindly submit it in PDF or e-book format for evaluation. The book must already be published within the last decade. The jury will review the book and give it the respective evaluation. It is a great opportunity for writers, as it will bring them a prestigious award worthy of occupying a place in their biography, making them famous in the world of literature.
- It sounds really exciting for an author! Let us go back to the massive work you are conducting as an outstanding humanitarian; who have been the world leaders that have inspired you and what should the leaders of today do in an effort to creating a better world?
All those illuminated personalities who dedicated themselves to humanity, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Ulov Palme, Mother Teresa, Henri Dunant. Of course, religious leaders who ended up destitute or even sacrificing themselves for their beliefs. And my great inspiration since I was a child, doctor Albert Schweizer, who dedicated himself completely to the salvation of poor people in Africa, building hospitals, schools, orphanages and old people’s homes.
The most important task for an inspired leader is to be able to perceive the vibrations of social change and to strive to inspire and educate the new generations, who are our future, towards a better, more humane world based on solidarity, tolerance and, of course, peace. As it is the task and duty of all of us and of course the poets to ensure that the future will be better and inspire the rest to follow the enlightened path towards it. The same thing happens with the need of the intellectual to give a constant fight in the day-to-day battle against all evil that prevails in society, be it crime, harassment, abuse, poverty, discrimination, war. Unfortunately, in most countries, even those that consider themselves civilized, society and the judicial system have not been able to eradicate such horrible roots. Religion and politics are the two great pillars that could contribute to this end, but in many cases they seem to be exploited by a group of corrupted people, wherever they come from. Camouflaged with the mask of the humanitarian or religious leader, these people have done a lot of damage throughout history.
I have written an essay entitled “The Sphere of Freedom” to illustrate the need for every human being to have their own sphere of absolute freedom around them. Following the publication of the essay, at Writers Capital Foundation we held an international art and literature exhibition under the same name, that is, in order to unite our voices against the abuse of women and against terrorism. In fact, it was highly successful, bringing together poets and artists from around the world to protest with their works against inequalities and oppression of any kind. Therefore, my beliefs are aligned with the powerful values of humanity, which should be better spread through education. We, intellectuals, set the example. I really wish that all politicians and all leaders across the world listened to the will of the people demanding brotherhood, solidarity, compassion and peace!
- Great to know you are following into their footsteps! What do you think have been the greatest lessons that this difficult era has left us with?
– In our era plagued by the pandemic and financial crisis, one has to recognize that there are certain aspects that have brought us together as a society. Perhaps not all of it, but a great portion of it. Perhaps the best part of society, those who have realized how important it is to remain united for our salvation. Families have gotten closer, relatives have helped each other to stand up on their feet again. Intellectuals from around the world have come together, via virtual platforms, of course, in an effort to exchange thoughts and find an antidote to depression. There have been times when efforts have been made to raise funds for a good cause as well. At least this is what we try to do in our foundation. To raise funds and alleviate people’s pain, within our power of course.
We have seen that poetry and artistic creativity thrive despite the crisis, or rather against the crisis, and of course because of the crisis. It is the recipe for inspiration, introspection and meditation. Pain, especially mental pain, triggers the externalization of the respective emotions. The objective is didactic, ultimately leading to personal redemption. After all, on the most painful pages of a country’s history, great talents emerge producing masterpieces, whether in a period of occupation, civil war, or political or other unrest. The poets with their pens break the chains of the adversities of their time. Literature, and art in general, has always been the best human anti-stress product for both the writer/creator and the reader/viewer. It is the refuge of the soul that is released through the wings of the imagination. This is exactly the theme of an anthology that we have produced in collaboration with poets and artists from around the world entitled RISING FROM THE BLUES, whose aim is to free the soul from darkness and bring it to light. The morale is that “if we don’t unite, we perish!”. And the basis of it all is pure, unconditional love to fellow human.
- Undeniably this is so. Love is the basis and the hope on which we have to stand and mark a new era. Irene, you are the author of many books. I think I have seen 16 in Goodreads. What is the literary genre that dominates in your writing? Where do you get your inspiration to write?
– Actually, I don’t know what genre of literature predominates in my writing. I believe I have written a variety of literary types: essay, poetry, short story, mini-novel, article, educational book, crime… I think that fiction and of course poetry is what a reader will find mainly among my books. As far as the topics elaborated in my works goes, that is something of a mystery. “Miracles come in moments, be ready and willing!” Wayne Dyer says; in the very same way literary works are produced! Miraculously indeed!
Indeed, motivation can come from a variety of stimuli. From something very simple: a song, a verse, a melody. From a name, a word or an emotion. From a problem, a memory, an incident or a historical fact. Of course, aside from historical facts, mythology is also a great source of inspiration for me. The heroic deeds, the epics, all the way down to the problems of our time. Being Greek, that’s natural! Even a dream can give me inspiration, a dream that through the subconscious raises the question that the fast pace of life does not possibly allow us to give importance to during the day. The themes of my writing are diverse: the liberation of the soul, love, trust, honesty, joy and sadness, companionship, justice, truth and lies, history and technology, human relationships, loyalty and deception, tenderness and cruelty, politics; In most of the poems or themes in my books it is about an inner search for self-knowledge and a social analysis and psychosynthesis of all kinds of behaviors, a kind of an experimental approach.
- What is poetry to you?
What is poetry? Wallace Stevens “Poetry is the supreme fiction”. According to Matthew Arnold, poetry is “simply the most delicious and perfect form of expression that human words can achieve”, while “Poetry is the first and last knowledge, as quoted by William Wordsworth. Poetry actually derives from the ancient Greek word: ποιέω-ώ (poieo-ο), which means I do/create; it is an art form in which language is not used in its main purpose, that is as a means of communication between people, but as a means of self-expression. The poet writes simply out of an innate impulse to create; an inner impulse to express the outbreak of images, messages and emotions that flood their entire being. Through poetry they delve into new ideas, but also through poetry they can also change the way they perceive things. A poet shows us the way to process experiences, visual descriptions, and emotions; a way to analyze and synthesize new theories and draw conclusions.
“Poetry” for me is a dear friend. A difficult, demanding, but trustworthy friend. And loyal, in fact. Getting involved in poetry fills me, redeems me, elevates me. It is the passage that connects the external world with the interior of the soul, it is this passage that releases the emotions and gives them the way to come out on their own and be written on a sheet of paper. “Climbing words as if you were climbing a ladder,” according to George Seferis, our Greek Nobel awardee. The road is steep, uphill, but extremely seductive. At the top, the world opens up beyond our dimension and leads us towards our primordial matter. Poetry for me is a whole universe, not just a form of self-expression, which of course it is. Still, poetry is everywhere. It is a way of thinking, acting, understanding and perceiving. A way to get closer to the stars. It is the most perfect act of creation within life: it is life itself!
- You have been multiply awarded receiving hundreds of distinctions and recognitions for your literary work. What does it mean for you every time you receive one of those awards?
– I would say that the prize is not the most important thing. What makes me happy is mainly that the respective literary work has been acknowledged and also the time I have devoted to it. I am always honoured and blessed to receive an award for my hard work, like all people, of course. However, the most important thing is that it is further inspiration, the green light to move on. It is also a great responsibility, always to surpass the grandeur of the previous prize and to improve even more.
- You are a multifaceted and multitasking woman with an admirable career in everything you have undertaken! I congratulate you on those great achievements and on those yet to come. What is everyday like in your life? How much time do you dedicate to reading and to literary creativity?
- I thank you with all my heart for all the wonderful words you just mentioned. A writer of fiction in particular needs to have free time on a daily basis to be able to systematically deal with the plot of each story, as the writer digs with their pen into the amorphous mass (called paper or computer keyboard), to develop the characters, to expand the forms and the imagination and transform their experiences into written language. As for me, due to my heavy workload, my writing time is limited, late at night, especially after a full day of teaching at the Academy Centres of Foreign Languages I own, after all the work that has to be completed for Writers Capital Foundation, and after the translations I do. I definitely work on my stories during the holidays, but of course the most difficult thing is that I have to choose which of my unfinished books I will get to finish and which I will necessarily leave for whenever. As a result, a plethora of unfinished stories patiently await their turn… Poetry, due to lack of time, is luckier. Fortunately, poems don’t take that long to write, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to write some thousands of them. Especially poems in the Japanese style of “haiku”.
- What has the outcome of your projects in the last five years been? Tell us about your projects for the new year
– I think I am not the right person to evaluate my work. I’d better leave that role to my readers and those who know me through my work as an educator as well as a writer. All I’m trying to do is do my work to the best of my ability and also try to make other people smile. If I have inspired only one person through my writing, I am completely satisfied. I know for a fact that history will be the greatest and toughest judge. The goal is to first complete the Panorama literature festival to the best of our ability, and perhaps have a week to unwind before the second main festival begins, the Panorama Arts! Then one more anthology… So many projects with the WCIF, of course! Also my personal plan is to publish Miracles Within poetry collection in Spanish and by the time that is done, have a well deserved vacation before a challenging new school year at the Academy!
- What message would you wish to share with our readers?
– I am going to answer this question with two poems from my latest poetry collection Miracles Within by Writers International Edition:
Do not change! Always remain
the light morning breeze
the lush long wavy hair
of the very first innocently smiling
And for young readers, I especially dedicate this poem:
Many youths nowadays
Go to lengths to look like their role models.
“Why, my dears, settle for a cheap copy
when you can be the priceless original?”
It has been an honour talking to you, Irene Doura-Kavadia! I am certain our readers will enjoy learning all about these wonderful things you engage yourself with.
It was a pleasure talking to you too, Dimitris! I thank you as well and wish you and all the readers happy season’s greetings! Merry Christmas and a happy new year full of love, joy and creative happy moments!
Happy holidays from me to you all!
On the multifaceted work of Irene Doura-Kavadia, please visit the following links:
Panorama Festival PILF: www.panoramafestival.org
Irene Doura Academy – www.irenedoura-academy.com
Irene’s Biography: www.goodreads.com/author/show/21060763.Irene_Doura_Kavadia
FB – Irene Doura – Kavadia (facebook) www.facebook.com/irene.doura.3/
FB Groups – intellectuals without borders – writers capital foundation
Instagram – Irenedourakavadia