On this day in 1927, Greek writer Costas Taktsis was born. Taktsis is described as a “landmark of post-war literature in Greece’. The Greek Herald takes a look back at his life.
Costas Taktsís’ father, Grigórios, and his mother Eli were from Eastern Rumelia, a region of Thrace now part of Bulgaria.
Costas was sent to Athens to live with his grandmother at the age of seven after the separation of his parents.
He graduated high school and enrolled at the Athens Law School, but would never finish his studies.
In 1947, he was called up for military service, and in 1951 he was hired as an assistant to the American director of the Louros dam project.
From 1954 to 1964, he travelled and lived in Australia where he was befriended by the Australian modernist painter Carl Plate.
He had brief stints as a tour guide, translator, and writer upon returning to Greece in 1964.
He had several encounters with police during the period of the Junta from 1967 to 1974.
Taktsis was a gay man who advocated for gay rights and against the community’s repression and marginalisation. He incorporated themes of homosexuality in his work.
He has thirteen literary works to his name stretching from 1951 to 2002.
These include poetry and short story collections, novels, and an autobiography.
Most famous of which was Το τρίτο στεφάνι (‘The Third Wedding Wreath’) which he wrote partly in Australia and released in 1962.
It was met with international acclaim after it was translated into French as Le troisième anneau by Jacques Lacarrière and published by Gallimard in 1967 and then into English by John Chioles.
Many directors, including Michael Cacoyannis, unsuccessfully tried to adapt the book for the screen.
It was eventually adapted as a TV series in 1995 on ANT1 TV, and later as a four-hour play directed by Stamatis Fassoulis in 2009-10.
He met an untimely death when he was strangled at his home in Kolono on August 27, 1988.
He was 60 years old.
The crime has never been solved.