Home of the Heart Series Continues

Vasilios Vasilas launches his second book in the Home of the Heart: Lesvos and Migration Series, Our Homeland: Lesvos at the Mytilinenian House on Wednesday, 15 June.

Our Homeland: Lesvos serves as a prequel to last year's book, Journeys of Uncertainty and Hope, as this book focuses on what homeland the migrants left behind.

Our Homeland: Lesvos is formatted as its predecessor with photographs and ancedotes/ oral histories, and has chapters on History, Schooling, Society and Work. The final two chapters are the Journey and the New Beginning (Australia) and have included to link with its predecessor and forthcoming books.

Above: The front cover of the new book, featuring Eleni Koukari (nee: Bloukou) harvesting olives in Paleokipos in the Gera area. c1948.

Asked why he this book went backward (prequel) rather than forward (sequel) in the story on Lesvian migration to Australia, Vasilios Vasilas explains, "Before we started working on life in Australia, I believe it was important to look at the Lesvos of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s- the Lesvos these migrants experienced before they left- because it depicts the life (and conditions) that prompted them to migrate.

Furthermore, I will focus on how the Lesvians have tried to maintain their culture in Australia in a forthcoming publication, so it was an opportunity to look at the culture they were trying to maintain and its setting is the island itself.

As I will point out on the Launch night, the stories in Our Homeland: Lesvos may be set on Lesvos, but they ironically belong to the story of Australia; it provides Ausralia with the background of where their migrants came from; who they were and what they did."

Asked what to expect with this book, he explains, "It is a much larger book; it is 120 pages longer than the Journeys book. In the Journeys book, we had approximately 235 photographs; in Homeland, we have 615! A lot more work went into this book. I suppose there were expectations to come up with something better, and I hope I have done this."

The launch is on Wednesday, June 15, and will occur at Mytilenian House, 225 Canterbury Rd, Canterbury, at 7pm.