Reading Balkans - Borders vs Frontiers project
Related priority: A stronger Europe in the world
Demolishing walls with words
Some of the most impenetrable borders are those that spring from prejudice and fear. And since the struggles for independence of the 1990s, the Balkans region has been no stranger to either.
In times of self-questioning, political repression, or ultimate liberation, writers can play a special role, telling stories about realities that ordinary people may endure, but not know how to share. Writers can also provide a temporary escape from these realities, through the portal of the imagination.
The EU Creative Europe funded Reading Balkans project, now in its second incarnation, gives writers in the region opportunities to devote time to writing, through residencies and an award scheme, and to reach a wider audience through translation and festivals.
The diversity of voices of these writers deserves to be heard, to help strengthen a unified Europe, with a stronger presence in the world.
The first Reading Balkans project was a response to the legacy of bitter conflicts and rise in nationalism in the region during the 1990s, with its escalating horrors of genocide.
The second edition of the project – Borders vs Frontiers – responds to a change in dynamics in the region, which has become a region of transition for refugees heading for northern EU countries. The project is now focusing on co-operation with these refugees, notably those in Slovenia – especially Ljubljana – who linger longer and even seek to settle there.
The project has maintained its programme of residencies, while continuing to help writers to reach a wider audience through translations of their work, the project’s website and a new app (see links below). Literary Festivals and book fairs offer writers an opportunity to network, meet with literary agents, give readings and discuss their work in workshops.
People really like the Reading the Balkans digital app, because it is an innovative way to promote authors to literary professionals in Western Europe.
Project coordinatorReading the Balkans.
Reading Balkans - Borders vs Frontiers project details
Started: 1 October 2019 - Ended: 30 September 2021
Project Reference: 607394-CREA-1-2019-1-SI-CULT-COOP1
EU Grant: 200,000 EURSee the project card for full details on the Reading Balkans project
Apps from the project
The app lists contemporary authors from the Balkans and offers sample translations of their work.
Explore Reading Balkans further
Watch 4 video stories where refugees living in Ljubljana, Slovenia, talk about refugee routes, bureaucratic obstacles, and life in Slovenia.
The Reading Balkans Project Catalogue gives a fascinating insight into the writer-in-residence programme and its authors.