Staying connected and creative in pandemic times

At a well-attended press conference held on the 30th of June at the Goga Bookstore in Novo Mesto, we shared the news on our project Reading Balkans: Borders vs. Frontiers with Slovenian journalists.

The project is already known and recognizable in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, and Southeast Europe since it is a continuation of the project Reading Balkans: South and East Reach West that was supported by Creative Europe in 2017. The new two-year edition of the Reading Balkans project started in autumn last year. This time our focus is on borders and multilingualism in literature as well as cooperation with refugee writers. Against nationalism, exclusion, and fear, and for connecting, empathy, and solidarity through literature, creativity, mobility, and dialog – these are the main visions of the project that are realised through the promotion of writers (website, mobile application, and international book fairs) and the literary residency program. We planned 42 one-month writers’ residencies in seven different countries and the promotion of writers at eight festivals with the two main themes: Borders vs. Frontiers and Exile in Language.

The literary residency program is a cooperation of the Publishing House Goga (SI), Goten Publishing (MK), Udruženje Krokodil (SRB), Udruga Kurs (CRO), Poeteka (AL), Qendra Multimedia (Kosovo), PEN Centre (BIH), Traduki and other partners.

In the last couple of months, the borders as a central theme of the project got the central position in our personal and professional lives, too. Since Reading Balkans is based on travel, mobility, and crossing borders, we are doing our best to continue the project within the new challenges of pandemic travel restrictions. Although most of the international promotion has moved online, we are hopeful to be able to visit the Frankfurt Book Fair this October. Our spring residencies were postponed due to the lockdowns, but summer brought some more travelling.

Senka Marić, a writer from Bosnia and Herzegovina was at Krokodil residency in Belgrade in June. Local readers had a chance to get to know her better during the literary event. She wrote a diary about her stay in Belgrade for one of the most prominent Serbian dallies, Danas.

Jasmina Topić, a writer from Serbia, is now in residence at P.E.N. Sarajevo while a writer from Bosnia and Herzegovina Faruk Šehić is at Goga in Novo Mesto. The literary event with Jasmina Topić will be held in Sarajevo on 24th July at Museum of Theatre and Theatre Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Literary event with Faruk Šehić will be held on the 7th July at Goga in Novo Mesto and on the 8th July at Vodnikova domačija in Ljubljana.

Dinko Kreho, a writer from Croatia, will spend July at Krokodil residency and Jean Lorrin Sterian, an author from Romania is going to Qendra in Priština for the August residency.

Everything is prepared for Petar Andonovski, a Macedonian writer and winner of this year’s European Prize for Literature to come to Novo Mesto and for a Macedonian writer Nikolina Andonova Šopova to start her residency at Kurs in Split, but at this moment we have to wait for a better epidemic situation in the Balkans.

Special thanks go to Slovenian Ministry of Culture and The Municipality of Novo Mesto who understood the importance of the project and helped us overcome bureaucratic challenges and brought Faruk Šehić to Slovenia.

The Reading Balkans project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

The Reading Balkans Press Conference

We will be holding a press conference for Slovenian media in the Bookstoore Goga in Novo Mesto on 30 June at 10 a.m.

Since the main activities of the project are connected to literary residencies programme, travel and mobility we have to deal with many challanges due to the coronavirus pandemic but we continue to connect writers from the Southeast Europe (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia) and to fight nationalism and intolerance through dialogue and literature.

Join us in Novo Mesto press conference for all the information about the future plans, events and residence programmes within the Reading Balkans project!

Congratulations to the laureates of the European Union Prize for Literature 2020!

We are excited to announce that Peter Andonovski, the laureate of the European Union Prize for Literature 2020 for North Macedonia for the book Страв од варвари/ Fear of Barbarians (Ili-Ili, Skopje, 2018), will be the guest author of the Reading Balkans Residency Programme in Novo mesto in Slovenia in July this year.

Congratulations to Peter Andonovski and to all the laureates, among others, Lana Bastašić (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Stefan Bošković (Montenegro) who were also the authors in residence in previous years of the Reading Balkans programme.

The EUPL is organised by a Consortium comprising the European Writers’ Council (EWC), the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), and the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), with the support of the European Commission. The award is funded by Creative Europe.

Reading Balkans: Borders vs. Frontiers

Reading Balkans: Borders vs. Frontiers is a continuation of the project Reading Balkans that was supported by Creative Europe in 2017. This time we have put in the focus topics of borders and cooperation with refugee writers – at the time when old wounds from Balkan Wars have not yet been healed, the question of our borders still not solved, new politics of fear and nationalism is built when refugees are crossing our region (and actual border walls are built as well) – through our activities we want to work on dialogue, debate and deeper understanding of our actual problems.

The project is a cooperation of the Publishing House Goga (SI), Goten Publishing (MK), Udruženje Krokodil (SRB), Udruga Kurs (CRO), Poeteka (AL), Qendra Multimedia (Kosovo), PEN Centre (BIH), Traduki and other sponsors and donators. The Reading Balkans project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

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Andriy Lyubka

Andriy Lyubka

Andriy Lyubka, born 1987 in Riga, is a Ukrainian poet, writer and essayist. He graduated from the Mukachevo Military School and went on to study Ukrainian Philology at Uzhhorod National University and Balkan Studies at the University of Warsaw. His books of poetry include Eight Months of Schizophrenia (2007), Terrorism (2009) and 40 Dollars Plus the Tips (2012). He has also published a collection of short stories, The Killer (2012), a German translation of one of his poetry collections, Notaufname (2012), a book of essays Sleeping with Women (2014), and a novel Karbid (2015), which was short-listed in the final selection of the Book of the Year by BBC Ukraine. Its Polish translation was short-listed for the Angelus Central-European Literary Award in 2017. His recent works include a collection of short stories The Room for Sadness (2016), a book of essays Saudade (2017) and the novel Your Gaze, Cio-Cio-san (2018).

He is the winner of the Debut Award (2007), Kyiv Laurels (2011), recently he received literary award of Kovalev Foundation literary prize in the USA and the Shevelov Prize for the best book of essays of 2017 in Ukraine. Lyubka also translates from Polish, Croatian, Serbian, English and is the curator of two international poetry festivals.