Makis Tsitas was born in Giannitsa in 1971. He majored in journalism and worked for several radio stations in Thessaloniki. Since 1994 he has lived in Athens where he works in publishing. He has served as senior editor for the literary magazine Periplous (1994-2005), and was the co-publisher and director of the book journal Index (2006-2011). From 2012 to the present he has been directing Diastixo.gr, a website on books and culture.
He is a member of the Hellenic Authors’ Society.
Short stories and books for children have been translated into many languages.
Some of his works have also been staged and directed by Roula Pateraki (Pireaus Municipal Theater), Tatiana Lygari (Theater To treno sto Rouf, viva.gr), Ersi Vasilikioti (Theatro ton Keron), Sophia Karagianni (Vault Theater), Promitheas Aliferopoulos (Piraeus Municipal Theater), Taru Makela (Christine and Goran Schildt Foundation, Finland), Alexandru Mazgareanu (Nottara Theater, Romania).
His lyrics have been set to music by Giorgos Stavrianos, Takis Soukas, Tatiana Zografou and Nikos Vasiliou, and the songs have been performed by Nena Venetsanou, Vasilis Papakonstantinou, Pantelis Thalassinos, Miltos Paschalidis, Alex Sid, Dimitris Zervoudakis, Kostas Parissis, Sophia Papazoglou, Theodora Tzita, and Nephele Fasouli, Iro Bezou.
He has published 29 books for children and 5 for adults.
His novel “God Is My Witness”, earned him the 2014 European Union Prize for Literature and honors by the Municipalities of Athens, Pella, and Edessa, the Central Public Library of Edessa, as well as the Region of Central Macedonia.
“God Is My Witness” is available in 12 European languages.

 More about author: 
First name:  MAKIS
Last name:  TSITAS

For adults

(2022) The General is Causing Trouble in the Square, Kapa

(2020) God is my witness, (new publication) Metaixmio

(2020) Five stops, Metaixmio

(2015) The Again, Patakis

(1996) Patty from Petroula, Kastaniotis


For kids

(2023) The King’s Councillor, Metaixmio

(2022) Our Tradition 2: Tongue twister, Psychogios

(2022) Our Tradition 1: Proverbs, Psychogios

(2022) The Giant is Coming, Metaixmio

(2021) The best granny of all, Psychogios

(2020) Haralambia the Giraffe, Metaixmio

(2020) Dora and the cat that was called Ulysses, Minoas

(2019) The brave knight and the smiling queen, Kalendis

(2019) My Grandpa, Patakis

(2019) In Front of the Television, Psichogios

(2018) And I take off my hat, Kokkini klosti demeni

(2018) The birthday present, Psichogios

(2017) A little celebrity, Psichogios

(2017) My own daddy, Patakis

(2017) My name is Dora, Minoas

(2015) My big brother, Psichogios

(2014) Find who i am!, Patakis

(2014) Stray Kostas, Psichogios

(2014) By heart, Psichogios

(2013) Oh, these parents!, Psichogios

(2012) Don’t trouble Santa Clause, Psichogios

(2012) Take me with you too!, Psichogios

(2011) Why don’t you count some sheep?, Psichogios

(2009) Don’t go, Psichogios

(2006) The little red one, Kastor

(2006) Friends, Psichogios

(2005) I don’t like milk!, Psichogios

(2005) Whose soup is this?, Psichogios

(2005) Christmas at kindergarten, Savvalas


Ptolemeon 4, 11635 Athens

Date of birth:  1971
Birth place:  Yanitsa
Abstract title:  God is my witness
Abstract text: 

There are four kinds of bosses: the successful, the indebted, the shits and the mad. My fate was the latter.

He would speak to me as if he didn’t know if it were me standing there or someone who looked like me. I mean, if I were Chrysovalantis—employee and friend—or my twin brother. It’ s just, I don’t have a twin brother. I have two sisters. If we happened to meet in the lobby, he would say, ‘Don’t lag behind!’ and dash into the lift. Αs it went up he’d shout, ‘No cheating!’ and make me run up eight floors, counting aloud each of the hundred and forty-four stairs. From the lift he’d yell, ‘Louder, fatty! Where’ s your spirit?’


His company closed in the late ’80s and I became unemployed out of the blue. I had worked with him eleven years, but I was taken unawares. My other colleagues had done marketing work for a few months and they immediately went to other graphic design studios. I could see that the ship was sinking, of course, that things were going from bad to worse, that there was no future, but I didn’t want to believe it. I had bought Old Nick’ s myth: ‘Even if all the others go, there’ s no way you’ll be left without work.’ That’ s where I screwed up.


I saw myself wrestling myself in the mud. The one swore at the other and tried to suffocate him. All the while they were piously chanting the Kassiani hymn.

Then the two became one Chrysovalantis, whose name was Psychovalantis, and he shouted thrice, ‘This wind is choking me!’ The sound of an aria from Tosca came out of nowhere.

A strange dream.


I can’t imagine myself as a beggar or a tramp. But nor can I imagine my parents falling victim to exploitation, particularly from a bride-to-be.

My father is now eighty-three years old, a retired officer, a family man, a man of letters and the Church. His is a quiet life. He has always looked after me, tended to my needs and loaned me money.

He would say, ‘Careful, careful, careful!’ but I was gullible and defenceless. My father was strict, but pliable. With a little pressure, he gave in. Yes.

‘Dad, I’m going to London. Give me a hundred thousand, won’t you?’ He would.

‘Dad, I have a small debt with the bank.’ He would pay it off immediately.

‘Dad, I have a problem, can you help me out?’ He ran to my side.

‘Dad, I have to be admitted to hospital.’ He would help.

He never said no. Now that I think philosophically about it, his bark was worse than his bite. I hadn’t

realised that. I respect and admire him. Until I was twenty I was terrified of him. Afterwards I just respected him, since he had been through a lot. He is a man with life-experience. A father never wants harm to come to his child. He was glad that I always had ties to monasteries and churches—he’ s also a God-fearing man. All of my family are.

When, at eighteen, I entered the officers’ academy at Trikala, he said ‘well done’, but when I gave it up (I couldn’t take any more) he had no objection.

He never stood in my way. No.

Perhaps that’ s why I still haven’t left home even though I’ve turned fifty. I feel safe and snug.


I called an old colleague to wish her happy birthday and see if she could give me some work. She hung up, saying, ‘Chrysovalantis, you’ve caught me on my way out. Let’ s speak another time.’

You see, the lady has no need of me anymore.

She’ s got a cushy job with the Athens 2004 Olympics and she’ s on two thousand a month plus bonuses. But the party won’t last forever. Then let’ s see what happens…

Many of my former colleagues, who I had helped in countless ways, sneered at me when I asked for help. So did the businessmen at the small companies, who’d had me at their beck and call when I was working for Old Nick. Now they’ve lost their cream they pretend they don’t know me. Oh well, I have faith in God. I wish them all well. That’ s a blessing from my priest: to be able to say ‘I have faith in God’ and ‘thank you’ even to those who wronged me. My conscience is clear. I listen to my priest as much as possible. He’ s told me what to do in my life, and how to cope so I don’t end up in a loony-bin.


When you go bankrupt, you see how to get by without money. You want to get a free coffee. You want to sit somewhere and talk. I’ve done extensive research on penury.

That’ s why every Sunday morning, after the service in Agia Irene on Aeolou Street, I pass by the Anglican church where they serve coffee for free. If you go in and attend their service, they even give you a religious book for free. It’s in English, of course. (I might not understand the language, but no book is lost on me.)

I try to get by on my wits. Yes.


My mother is a saintly being, a truly family-oriented, subservient woman—the rock of the house… but timid as a mouse. I remember her standing behind my father having put his food on the table, or laughing her head off in the cupboard while hanging up his ironed shirts, all alone. I looked at her with concern and thought, ‘That’ s it, Mum’ s gone mad.’

My older sister is a professor of theology. She’ s a diligent, modest girl. She stood out among our whole family. Exceptionally studious. She has two degrees and still started a doctorate at fifty. It doesn’t bother her that she’ s already spent four years on it and she’ s still writing. That old Plotinus will drive her mad. No personal life. Unfortunately.

My little sister is Chrysovalantis in female form. (I mean, the good features of my character, not the sordid ones.) Now she looks after the house. There aren’t serious jobs for a sickly woman of forty-four. She’ s not going to work at a till. She’d get asked out by some bloke for coffee in the evening. In the good old days our father wanted to get her work in the public sector, but she refused. She’ s frugal, thankfully.

Yours truly says, ‘Pity me, pity me!’ My life is spread out on a vast field covered in hot red peppers. When I fall (always face first), I scald myself. That’ s my life—

always landing in traps, thorns and nettles, without thinking that I’m barefoot. I always forget to wear shoes—even slippers, though I know beforehandwhere I’m heading. Unfortunately, that’ s just who I am.


I have repented, however. God is my witness. I have

repented bitterly for everything I have done. I want to leave it behind and start afresh.

I don’t want lovers or good-time girls or prostitutes. I want to be close to God. And if He grants me a serious woman, then OK, I will happily enter holy matrimony. If he doesn’t grant that and wants me to be a monk, that’ s OK, too.

I’ve put a lot of people aside because I saw that they had nothing to give. They’re leaky buckets. Bottomless pits.

I want Him to hear me when I pray. Oh Lord, lead me not into temptation.

I want fewer friends, too. Few, but good—quiet, honourable ones who won’t suffocate me. Not those who’d give you a gas mask with one hand and pump carbon dioxide into your face with the other. What do they expect—the mask to break and me to suffocate? That’ s what we’ve become. Unfortunately, that’ s the mentality of modern Athens. It doesn’t let us balance our debts or our lives. I speak from bitter experience.

A friend of mine, a priest, once said to me, ‘A faithful friend is a strong defence; and he that hath found such an one hath found a treasure.’ Did we find friends and then abandon them? Did we find gold and pass it by in our quest for diamonds? A grave mistake. I did that, and I have repented. I did it knowingly and in full clarity of soul. I abandoned friends—young and old, clergymen and lay people—looking for diamonds. But where are they? Where?!

The palaces of the soul are incomparably superior to material ones. Material goods are desired by mask-wearing friend-impersonators. Real friends care about the treasure of the soul, and they will do anything to bring it to light, however well hidden it is. The others aren’t friends, they’re leeches, and the leech doesn’t have such clarity of soul that he can choose a person with quality. A leech has no feelings, nor spiritual peace—not even a soft pillow to sleep on. His conscience is not clear. No.

I don’t know. How can you talk about ideologies when we see that most employers (at least ninety percent) prefer foreigners, just to save a few coppers?

The whole of Greece has succumbed to a plague. Spiritually and materially. And Athens is even worse.


(Excerpt from the book “God is my witness”, translated by Joshua Barley)



His novel “God is my witness”, earned him the 2014 European Union Prize for Literature and honors by the Municipalities of Athens, Pella, and Edessa, the Central Public Library of Edessa, as well as the Region of Central Macedonia. For his children’s book “The Giant is Coming” he won the Penelope Maximou prize of the Greek section of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) – Greek Children’s Book Circle.

E-mail:  mtsitas@diastixo.gr