Vassilis Vassilikos, a highly acclaimed Greek writer best known for his 1967 political novel “Z,” has passed away at the age of 89.
Born in Kavala on November 18, 1934, Vassilikos graduated from Karyotaki High School in Kavala and Anatolia American College in Thessaloniki. He later pursued studies in Law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and television directing at the Yale University Drama School in New Haven, Connecticut.
From 1967 to 1994, with the initial seven years spent in exile to escape Greece’s military dictatorship, he resided and worked in Italy, France, and the United States (New York), with a three-year break (1981-1984) during which he served as the deputy director general of public broadcaster ERT during the socialist administration of Andreas Papandreou.
Throughout his career, Vassilikos held various roles, including assistant director in foreign productions, documentary director, screenwriter, script editor, draftsman at Arte (1990-1993), journalist, and writer.
Highly prolific and widely translated, Vassilikos authored over 100 books, encompassing novels, plays, and poetry. His most renowned work is the political novel “Z” (1967), translated into 32 languages and adapted into the award-winning film “Z,” directed by Costa-Gavras with music by Mikis Theodorakis. The book provides an account of the events surrounding the assassination of the democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963.
He collaborated with Greek director Nikos Koundouros on the script of the film “Mikres Afrodites.” Vassilikos served as the ambassador of Greece to UNESCO from 1996 to 2004. He holds the distinction of being the most translated Greek writer after Greek heavyweights Nikos Kazantzakis and poets Yiannis Ritsos and Constantinos Cavafis.
In the 2014 Greek local elections, he ran as a PASOK candidate for counselor in the city of Athens. In the 2019 Greek legislative election, he was elected as a Member of Parliament with the leftist SYRIZA party.
Vassilikos was married to soprano Vaso Papantoniou and leaves behind a daughter.