- Maria Pyliotou:Cyprus Author
I wish I had a magic sieve to pass my written words through it over and over again until among those that would stay behind the playful myth would rise like the light.Maria Pyliotou
Born in 1935 in the village of Lefkoniko, in Cyprus, Maria Pyliotou experienced the poverty of World War II from an early age. Due to the lack of libraries near her village, her first contact with fairy tales was made through her storyteller grandfather, whom she considered "the best library" of her childhood.
Pyliotou has been writing award winning books and poems for children and youth since 1976, and many of these have been translated into other languages. Her work touches on a variety of themes, such as friendship, love, peace, and the acceptance of diversity. She is a mother of two daughters (one of whom, Theodora, has illustrated seven of her books). In addition to her published books, she has been recognized for her lyrics for "Song of Joy" which was awarded the UNICEF Prize.
Suspense is a predominant stylistic element in almost all of Maria Pyliotou's novels. Unpredictable situations occur that spark and maintain the reader's attention. Her heroes are searching for a creative utopia that will make the world a better place. In her work, she not only portrays reality, but she also "holds up a mirror" for readers to get to know themselves and society. For Pyliotou, every question is open to multiple answers and every issue can take on numerous truths. Thus, her books have ambiguous endings so that readers can use their imaginations to create their own conclusions.
The recipient of numerous awards, Maria Pyliotou was recently presented the Academy of Athens Award for her book Do you love me? Yes, I do! This book contains a touching series of letters written by both a grandmother and grandson who communicate their joys, disappointments, and dreams for the future. She is now a retired teacher, having taught from 1957-1995. She is often invited to talk to children, parents, and teachers offering suggestions on ways to cultivate students' love for reading. Keeping in touch with children is her way of life and a source of inspiration, renewal and creativity.