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Focus Albania: Albanian Writers Guests in Austria

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667 schwerpunkt albanienIn 2018, the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs put a focus on a cultural cooperation with Albania. On this occasion, the Ministry joined forces with TRADUKI also to put emphasis on literature exchange between the two countries.

A series of events started in September with a reading by a Albanian-Austrian writer Ilir Ferra in Klagenfurt, where he presented his latest novella Wir gibt es nicht. After the reading and a vivid discussion, the books were sold out and many of the visitors for more such events.

On November 13, the Albanian poet Luljeta Lleshanaku and her translator Andrea Grill were guests in Salzburg in the new city library. In cooperation with the literary forum Leselampe and with Prolit, a poetry evening called “Waiting for a poem” was organized. The ensuing discussion touch topics, such as the creative process, the art of translation, and the literary scene in Albania. The listeners, many of them students and professors at the university, fellow writers, and Albanian ex-pats in Salzburg, were very touched by Lleshanaku's poetry.

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The central events were organized during the Vienna book fair (Buch Wien), taking place between November 7th–12th 2018. In four events, the book fair audience got to know writers Ilir Ferra, Arian Leka, Agron Tufa, and Lindita Arapi and the listeners were visibly moved by their texts. The evening in the Austrian Literary Society on November 9 revolved around the question of how to deal with the difficult heritage and how literature can write about the past. Five video statements, a production of Agron Tufa together with artists’ collective MEMO showed once more how important remembrance is when it comes to shaping the present and the future.

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