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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
Black Seed/Georgievski, T/Paper/0958678901/S050-B2
Black Seed is one of the great political and humanistic novels of contemporary literature. It is one of the few books that examines life in the Greek prison camps during the Greek Civil War, providing a rare insight into a period when the State-sponsored persecution of political dissidents and ethnic minorities, particularly Macedonians, was at its most intense.
The main character, Doni, is an ethnic Macedonian from Aegean Macedonia (northern Greece). Conscripted into the Greek army, he is accused of being a communist and along with other political prisoners is taken to one of the concentration camps and forced to "confess" and pledge allegiance to Greece. But Doni has nothing to confess; his crime is simply to be a Macedonian.
Written in a direct and succinct style, Black Seed is a story of courage and compassion.
First published in 1966, Black Seed won the "13 November Award" from the City of Skopje. It has been made into a successful film and has been translated into a number of European languages. This is the first translation into English.
The author, Tashko Georgievski, was born in Voden in Aegean Macedonia in 1935 and left Greece as a refugee in 1946. He has published over 12 books and is one of Macedonia's most acclaimed contemporary authors.
The book also contains an article on Georgievski by Mateja Matevski, one of Macedonia's leading international poets. The article discusses the theme of "returning" which is common in Georgievki's books and which echoes the feelings of many thousands of Macedonians who, because of Greek government policy, are denied the right to return to their homes in Aegean Macedonia.