Friday 19 February 2016
Interview with Aris Dimokidis in Linto
Editor: Gogo Dimopoulou
On occasion of this year's TEDxLarissa held in the premises of Linto, we met the prolific Aris Dimokidis, presenter of the event and director of Lifo.gr, who spoke to us about what the TED institution is and of course we did not miss the opportunity to ask him a few things about the children books he has written.
G.D.: Tell us a few things about TEDx and what your relationship with this institution is.
Aris Dimokidis: TEDx is a conference held around the world, following precise specifications and having as speakers, people who can inspire and have something to say, who have experienced things, invented things and its purpose is to bring the audience in touch with science, arts and technology. My personal relationship with TEDx began when about three years ago I was asked to speak at TEDx Athens (A.U.E.B.) and narrate how one can, in the digital age we live in, work from home and manage a journalistic medium. As director of Lifo.gr they asked me to tell my story. I love my job and adapt it so that I can do it from home and so that I do not have to leave my home town Thessaloniki to move to Athens. With the help of the internet you now can do whatever you want from anywhere, without having to move around or even when having to move around to anywhere you wish and to still be able to do your job properly without having to be in an office. Two years ago I was asked to present the TEDx University of Patras. And today I am here, in TEDxLarissa.
G.D.: In Lifo.gr you write for adults. How did the children book come up? By now you've written 13 children's books.
Aris Dimokidis: Because as a journalist I write for adults, for which you have to usually write about reality, about facts, about serious issues, I like in my spare time as a hobby – that is as a writer- to be involved with something completely different - still in writing because this is my number one hobby, my need and pleasure, but doing it in a completely adverse way - to be able to tell lies with joy, to invent worlds, to create fairytales and therefore perhaps I was attracted by the children book.
G.D.: What has, in your opinion, changed in recent years in the field of children books? Has today's society of the economic crisis in Greece affected it?
Aris Dimokidis: It has had a negative effect in the sense that readers and sales have dropped, but less than in other sectors. Children books maybe not that much, because it is something parents want to provide their children with. Its themes have been quite influenced, meaning that many and good writers have been influenced and have brought out books which have the economic crisis as their background and without necessarily being educative, they incorporate what children experience, the problems, the unemployed parents, often in a magical way that however slowly, brings the child in contact with reality.
G.D.: Do you think it is OK for a child to face reality from such an early age?
Aris Dimokidis: A combination of both is the best I think. Meaning (a book) to have that reality elements, but also have the magic. For example, in 2007 the first book I wrote was titled The land of magical dreams - global economic crisis was going on at the time, but had not yet reached Greece. It involves some children whose parents due to financial problems are not taking them on vacation the particular summer, so staying in the city they are trying to find ways to have a nice time and to build their own world. Of course, if it were a very unpleasant and depressing book it would not be a good one. But I think that children do not mind reading unpleasant things- on the contrary many times they are intrigued by them, like all the splatter tales which “raised’ us and are still “raising” children but they don’t traumatize them, and they can excite their imagination and prep them for difficulties that may come up in life.
G.D.: What is the next book we are to expect?
Aris Dimokidis: I have already set off a book series with young journalists called Invisible Reporters and four books of the series have already come out in recent years and now I am writing the fifth. They are called "invisible" because nobody knows their identity. Everyone thinks they are great and "accomplished" journalists. They experience all those adventures that I would like to experience but I can’t, because they travel around the world solving mysteries, while meeting the culture, the sights and the life of other peoples. The fifth book that I hope will be published in the future, will be called Lost Atlantis and will take place mainly in Santorini, since it was inspired when I went there.