In 2021, two festivals took place in the context of READ project, one in Prishtina, polip International Literature Festival, from September 10th to 13th, organized by Qendra Multimedia, and one in Tirana, the International Youth Literary Festival “Tirana-Gate”, from October 8th to 10th, organized by Instituti i Librit dhe i Promocionit. In both of them, the discussions were focused on fundamentally interesting topics.
In Prishtina, the central subject was that of the identity politics, or what is called “cancel culture”, and its consequences for literature. To quote its presentation by the newsletter of the festival, these are some of the questions addressed during the discussions: “Where does the artistic freedom end, and when does the necessity of being ‘politically correct’ begin?… What is the border between creative freedom – who determines that border? – and has that border been eroded or reinforced in the ‘era’ of ‘cancel culture’? Does art require an ‘ideological guardian’?” It was a reflection on Balkan ex- periences placed in the context of global discussions around these questions. In Tirana, the central subject was The Other: identity and diversity; the Other as a challenge to the Self and as an opportunity to enrich the Self; the different and the common, or, to quote the opening speech of the Director of the festival: “discovering the common, the different, but also the similar between the cultures of writing in the centre and in the periphery of Europe”, with the underlying question of which is the periphery and which is the centre, and by defying the implied hierarchical
categorization, inasmuch as literature by its own nature tends to do so with any exogenous criterion of authority. In both festivals, the sessions of discussion were combined with sessions of reading literary texts. We are publishing a selection of them.
ON THE RAILS
The days smell of childhood chlorophyll. Children of memories in perfect order three by three Clover leaves. (Sorrows always remember us when everything is fine) The colour of a facade murmuring maturity
Shadows of the walls can claim even the homeless! But the shadows of the treetops are falling on the dream. Another day of the
motionless wagon wakes.
Translated by Ivana Maksic