Antonis Samarakis was born in Athens in 1919. For decades he worked as a civil servant at the Ministry of Labour, temporarily resigning during the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas (1936-40), and during the Second World War he was captured by Nazis and narrowly escaped a death sentence. He published his first collection of short stories, Hope Wanted, in 1954, and his collection I Refuse won the Greek State Prize for the Short Story. Samarakis has become one of the most celebrated Greek prose writers of the second half of the twentieth century, with his work translated into thirty-three languages. He was awarded the Greek Order of the Phoenix and the French Légion d’Honneur. He died in 2003.