When Nicholas Gage gives a talk titled “A Writer's Odyssey” Oct. 21 as part of Grafton's Small Stones Festival of the Arts, he'll begin with “an immigrant kid who didn't know English at the age of 10.” That kid, born Nikos Gatzoyiannis, had already been through a lot of trauma. His earliest years were spent in the Greek village of Lia with his loving mother, Eleni, and four sisters while his father had left to find work in the United States, settling in Worcester. The Greek Civil War brought the leftist guerrillas to Lia, who would announce a plan to remove young children from the village and send them to camps in sympathetic countries such as Albania where they would be “fed and educated as Communists.” Eleni managed to have four of her children escape (one daughter had already been conscripted). Eleni was subsequently arrested by the guerrillas. Nikos Gatzoyiannis was in a refugee camp when he found out his mother had been executed. Nicholas Gage, as he would become known, and three of his sisters met up with their father in Worcester. The fourth sister joined them here a few months later. Four years later at the then Chandler Junior High School, “A middle school English teacher took an interest me and set me on a course that became my entire life,” Gage recalled during a recent interview. The writer's odyssey had begun, but finding out the the details of what happened to his mother would also be […]
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