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New Writer 2020: Ioannis Kalkounos


Ioannis Kalkounos grew up in Greece and studied English and Greek Language and Philology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. In 2011, before moving to Scotland for a Creative Writing MSc at the University of Edinburgh, he self-published the poetic sequence Dakryma.

He has translated various English-language poets into Greek, and his own poetry has appeared in Gutter Magazine. Ioannis is the Programme Manager at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Follow Ioannis on Twitter(this will open in a new window) or visit his website(this will open in a new window)

Writing sample

Fragments from Children’s Age (excerpt)

As roosters run headless in the garden

—his knife clenched warm and red—

the grandfather whispers to the children:

‘Your heritage is intransigent slopes

at the end of the sky, and ghosts

whose swollen feet carve paths of exile

towards barren plains.

They hold burned branches in their hands—

every dusk they are aflame again and

every night they bloom.

Growing up is understanding the swallows’ nests

—the architecture of abandonment.’

Ioannis says:

"Poetry often feels like an uphill battle—especially when writing in a second language. I’m grateful and honoured for this award, which came at a pivotal point."