Author Stephanie Cotsirilos to Talk 'My Xanthi' in Chicago


Author Stephanie Cotsirilos returns to her hometown for a book talk and signing

The Hellenic American Women’s Council – Great Lakes Region (HAWC) presents Author Stephanie Cotsirilos for a book discussion and reading on May 18, 2024 at Lincolnwood Public Library in Lincolnwood, Illinois. The event will be moderated by Journalist and Author Maria A. Karamitsos.


About Stephanie Cotsirilos

Born in Chicago, Cotsirilos moved to New York where she had a career on and off Broadway. She created the role of “The Critic” in the Tony Award-winning musical, ‘Nine’. She also wrote songs and scripts produced in New York.

She studied law and joined a New York firm. Later, she moved to Maine and turned her focus to legal writing and strategic documents for nonprofits. But her creative side continued to nudge her, so she also wrote poetry and fiction. Feeling that continued pull back to the arts, she became a consultant and interim executive director for the Portland Ballet.

One of her essays was published in Beacon Press’ award-winning anthology Breaking Bread: Essays from New England on Food, Hunger, and Family. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, her work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Narrative Magazine, Mississippi Review, The New Guard, and various media. An alumna of the 2023 Sewanee Writers’ Conference, she was Katahdin (formerly Patrice Krant) Fellow in residence at Storyknife’s inaugural retreat for women writers in Alaska. My Xanthi (independently published, 2023) is her first novella.

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About the book

In Riverside, California, while working on an essay, criminal defense attorney Nick Milonas' daughter questions him about his work and morality. While he explains that everyone is entitled to a fair trial, he’s upended by the arrival of a package of letters from Greece.

Due to his mother's illness, when Nick was a boy, a woman came from Greece to help his family. Always dressed in widow’s black, Xanthi didn't speak English. Her dark clothing a shroud to her own past and her own grief, she remained a mystery to young Nick. He grew to love her dearly, a walking enigma that lived in his home and heart. He hadn’t thought about her much in recent years, until the letters arrived.

While Xanthi was in America, she wrote letters to her daughter. Years later, the daughter translated them, then sent them to Nick. Feeling the envelope might be a Pandora’s Box of sorts, he hesitated to open it. Through the letters and flashbacks, we learn about the years Xanthi lived with his family, and the brutal reality of her life in the Peloponnese during the Civil War and following. As he reaches the final letters, he realizes she lied to him about a vital aspect of her life. Feeling betrayed, he begins to ponder his own life and profession, while he grapples with the gray area between the law and justice.

Ultimately, My Xanthi is a powerful story about life, family, justice, and war—and the decisions we make that sometimes challenge our principles. 

The event

Starting at 2:00 pm, the event will take place at Lincolnwood Public Library, 4000 Pratt Avenue, Lincolnwood, Illinois. Following the discussion, Cotsirilos will read and sign copies of her book. My Xanthi is available for pre-order via a special partnership with Volumes Bookcafe, a Greek-owned bookshop in Chicago, and will be delivered to the event. Learn more about Stephanie Cotsirilos on her website. Email HAWC to RSVP.

Karamitsos is the founder and former publisher/editor of WindyCity Greek magazine. Her work has been published in various Greek media and other publications. An author and poet, she's working on a novel.

The Hellenic American Women’s Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nationwide network whose mission is to identify and harness the tremendous talents of Hellenic American Women. HAWC sponsors regional conferences, lectures, debates, and seminars by prominent scholars, government officials, and experts on various issues of interest to its members. Membership is open to all.

For more information about HAWC, click here.


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Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos is a journalist, author, and poet. She's the founder & former publisher/editor of WindyCity Greek magazine and former associate editor & senior writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Maria also contributes to NEO magazine and TripFiction. Her work has been published in The Magic of Us-A Moms Who Write Poetry Anthology, The Pen Poetry Magazine, Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, Highland Park Poetry, GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, KPHTH magazine, XPAT Athens, and more. Maria has contributed to two books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes and The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook. She's currently working on a novel.

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