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.