Manos Kontoleon was born in Athens (Greece).
He holds a degree in physics from the University of Athens.
He started writing when he was a child; his texts were published in the children’s magazine of that period, Diaplasi ton Paidon (Formation of Children). He made his first appearance in Greek letters when he was 23 years old (one of his short stories was included in an anthology of young prose writers). Ten years later, his first book was published. Manos Kontoleon has written all genres of prose: novels, novellas, plays, short stories, fairy tales and essays.
His books have been published by some of the largest and most important Greek publishing houses (Patakis, Kastaniotis, Estia, Ankyra, and others). He also writes reviews, articles and literary texts for various newspapers and magazines and e-magazines as a regular columnist or special contributor.
He was for many years vice-president of the Greek branch of UNICEF, ex Board member of the National Book Centre, of the Hellenic Authors’ Society and of the Greek Department of IBBY. He is a founding member of “Diadromes”, the Club for the Research and Study of Children’s Literature, and member of the editorial committee for the magazine of the same name.
For two years he was member of the jury to select the winners of the monthly literary review Diavazo’s annual awards for children’s and young people’s books and also memeber on the state awards committee for children’s literature.
He writes scenaria for children’s TV programmes on subjects having to do with books, participates in Greek and international conferences, and is a frequent speaker about the problems and aims of literature for children and young adults.
In 1998, he received the State Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature for his novel Mask on the Moon.
In 2009, he received the State Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature for the collection of short stories Precious Gifts. His books have received awards from the Hellenic Author’s Society and from the Greek Department of IBBY.
His short stories and articles have been included in various anthologies of prose and essays.
His novel The trip that kills made the transition to television, and two others of his children’s books became a stage plays.
He is known abroad through the inclusion of his novel Dominic on the "Andersen Awards" list of the International Board on Books for Young People and through the French translations of his books Two of them and another two and Taste of Bitter almonds, both of which were published by L’École des loisirs. One of his book have been translated to Tayland and one of his short stories for adults to German.
He has written (alone or in collaboration with other writers) a complete series of books and magazines for children from 6 to 16 years old. He has likewise collaborated in anthologising short stories by Greek authors. At the same time, he has translated into Greek books by Tony Ross, Jack and David KacKee, Max Welthius, Babette Cole, Pavel Bichel and some others.
Parallel to his purely literary and critical work, Manos Kontoleon was for 20 years a consultant to Patakis Editions in relation to a series of classics in modern and classical, Greek and foreign literature.
Manos Kontoleon is among the most substantial literary presences in Greece today. He has been described as one of the most important innovator both in children’s and young people’s as well as adults literature. He has introduced the literature of young adults to Greece through his most recent works in particlar, literary texts which although based on the concerns of young people, are also of interest to older readers. He has tackled a variety of subjects, social, family, political, fictional, realistic, etc., and keeps searching for new modes of expression in terms of both language and structure.
Manos Kontoleon lives in Athens with his wife Kostia Kontoleon (also an author and translator) and their two children –Anna (author, translator and actress) and Dominikos (journalist)
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