Her life a kaleidoscope of the 20th century. If he were alive today, he would be 100 years old. The legendary Alki Zei of Greek literature, the prolific, multi-translated, award-winning writer in Greece and abroad who was loved by generations of readers for her work and the exciting journey of a life lived to the core, comes to life in the exhibition “The Great Walk of Alki”, at the Benaki Museum on Piraeus Street. In collaboration with the Ministry of Culture in the context of the “Literary Year 2023 Alki Zei”.

This work-biographical exhibition exudes excitement and joy with the beloved author (1923-2020) omnipresent through large photographic portraits of her. Smiling even in her exiles, with a positive energy for life, a playful look and an underlying sense of humor that characterized her, for herself and in all directions.

The thread of her life and work is connected in the exhibition by the inspired design of the photographer Maria Stefosis, who set up the rich material in the large hall of the museum in a way that chronologically unfolds the long walk of Alki.

We start from the first editions of all her books, from “Kaplani tis Vitrina” her first book, which she wrote in 1963 in Moscow and was published by Themelio of Mimi Despotidis publications to the last “Grandmother’s Night Walk” from the publications Metaichmio in 2020.

We continue in front of an impressive wall of a colorful puzzle of covers of her translated books. In a display case, her manuscripts of anecdotes are kept along with the medals and distinctions. The large prints of photographs of her life surround the entire room, highlighting with selected excerpts from her writings, her reflection and the freshness of her gaze. People and situations that defined it during the years of Occupation and Resistance, people of spirit and letters that contributed to its literary formation. Family photos with director Giorgos Sevastikoglou and their children, Irini and Petros, next to those with intellectuals he collaborated with -Marios Ploritis, Jules Dassin, Melina Merkouris, Manos Zacharias, Spyros Plaskovitis, Dido Sotiriou’s aunt (Plato’s husband Sotiriou, her mother’s twin brother) Lenio’s sister with whom they “lived like twins”, Alki’s “best friend” Zei Georges Sarri, her eternal friend since their high school years.

In another section photos of her young theatrical steps (she had studied acting at the drama school of the National Conservatory of Athens), and left early, choosing to write. The cinematographic “Great Walk of the Moose” by the director Margarita Manda, shown in a small room at the exhibition, the map of the great walk of the author in History and in the geographical space, exiled after the Second World War from her native Athens, in principle in Chios. Then, the efforts in Rome to obtain a Soviet visa to reunite with George Sevastikoglou, who had fled to Tashkent as a political refugee in 1948 after the DSE’s defeat in the civil war. Then, their relocation to Moscow and later, during the years of the April dictatorship, to Paris, from where they finally returned to Greece in 1980.

A fictional life, which brings to mind the words of her eternal friend, poet Titos Patrikios: “When one starts mentioning Alki, one cannot stop, because both her life and her work are enormous.”

The visitor can take a short break in the semi-circular structure with the bleachers in the center of the exhibition, before continuing the route of the long walk through the eventful life of Alki Zei and her emblematic work. A project in which she manages the charm of the youth, of History, the charm of the Left, in whose struggles she participated from her youth through the lines of EPON, however she was also criticized a lot.

She loved and was loved by young children, she shaped the young readership without didacticism by transmitting the element of solidarity, friendship, values ​​that she herself maintained throughout her life.


“In Paris, during the dictatorship, I found to my surprise that the children of fellow resistance fighters had no idea what the Occupation and the Resistance were, for which their parents fought. And that was the reason why in 1971 I wrote “The Great Walk of Peter”. I wanted to explain it to the children in a way that would not burden them,” she said.

After all, as Alki Zei has written about the relationship between her writing work and History: “From my young years until today, let’s not say exactly how many there are because I myself would be scared, I lived through a war, two civil wars , two dictatorships and two refugees. I did not experience them as a simple observer, but taking an active part every time and even if I wanted to, my writing could not be affected by these events that shocked our country. Unwittingly, my life became entangled in history and I became a part of it. So, my writing work, whether I like it or not, is full of history… If I managed to get the children to at least listen to it, the future will tell.”

The exhibition “The Great Walk of the Moose” will last until 30/4/2023