The authors who participated at the 2nd Tirana International Literature Festival 2015
Carmine Abate (Italy)
Carmine Abate was born 24 October 1954 in Carfizzi, an arbëresh village in Calabria. He has written numerous short stories, novels and essays, mainly focusing on issues of migration and the encounters between disparate cultures.
He grew up speaking Arbëresh, a variant of the Albanian language. After graduating from the University of Bari, he moved to Hamburg, where his father had earlier emigrated. In 1984, his first collection of short stories appeared under the title „Den Koffer und weg!“ Abate has published several acclaimed novels and short story collections. Two of his award-winning books have been translated into English „Tra due mari“ (Between the Two Seas, 2002), and the novel „La festa del ritorno“ (The Homecoming Party,2004). His work has also been translated into several European languages and is now being translated into Arabic. He is represented by the leading publishing house Mondadori.
Artë Arifi (Kosovo)
Artë Arifi is a playwright from Kosovo. She has studied at the Academy of Arts, Pristina. She has written eight plays that had been staged and performed in Kosovo and Albania: „Dardha pas bunari“ (The pear tree behind the well, 2010); „Kohë pa ngjarje“ (Time without happening, 2013); „Kopshti me lule“ (Garden flowers, 2012); „Aritmi“ (Arrhythmia), „Perlat e Marisë (The Pearls of Mary); „Pianisti dhe kukulla blu“ „The Pianist and the blue doll, 2004); „Në kërkim të Zalës“ (Looking for Zala). Her play „Gruaja në dritare“ (The woman in the window) was performed in National Theater in Tirana 2015. Artë Arifi lives and works in Pristina.
Vladimir Arsenijević (Serbia)
Vladimir Arsenijević, born 1965 in Pula, Croatia, is a Serbian novelist, columnist, translator, editor, musician, and publisher. 1995 Arsenijević won the NIN Prize or his first novel „In the Hold“ thus at the age of 29 becoming the youngest ever recipient of the prestigious prize. This novel was translated in more than 20 languages. Since then, Arsenijević has published three other novels, two graphic novels and a book of essays. He is one of the founders and directors of KROKODIL literary festival held annually in Belgrade since 2009. He lives and works in Belgrade.
Lukas Bärfuss (Switzerland)
Lukas Bärfuss was born on 1971 at Thun, near Berne in Switzerland. Now he works and lives as a writer in Zurich. He writes novels ("Hundred Days", 2008, "Koala", 2014) and plays (including "The Sexual Neuroses of our Parents", "The Bus", "Sample", "Oil") that are played around the world. From 2009-13 he also worked as a dramaturg and author at Zurich Theatre, where his pieces "Malaga" (2010) "Twenty thousand pages" (2012) emerged. For his works Bärfuss has become several prizes and awards: the Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis (2005), the Berlin Literature Prize (2013) and most recently the Swiss Book Prize in 2014. In the spring of 2015, his volume of essays "Style and Morality" (Stil und Moral) appeared. Since 2015 Lukas Bärfuss is a member of the German Academy for Language and Literature.
Ben Blushi (Albania)
Ben Blushi, born in 1969, studied at the University of Tirana, graduating in Albanian Language and Literature. He was editor-in-chief of the newspaper Koha Jonë, and in 1999 embarked upon a political career in the cabinet of the Prime Minister of Albania. For several months he served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, in late 2000 he became the Prefect of Korça, and in 2011 he was appointed Minister of Education. Blushi is currently a Member of Parliament, representing the Socialist Party.
In April 2008, Blushi’s first novel Të jetosh në ishull (Living on an Island) was published, which turned into a phenomenal success. His acclaimed second novel Otello, Arapi i Vlorës (Othello, Arap of Vlora) appeared one year later, followed in 2011 by his third novel Shqipëria (Albania). With the novel Otello, Arapi i Vlorës, Blushi was awarded The Author of the Year prize at the Tirana Book Fair in 2009. In 2014 his newbook „Hëna e Shqipërisë“ (The Moon of Albania) was published. Ben Blushi is the winner of the European Union Prize for Literature, 2014.
Arben Dedja (Italy)
Arben Dedja, born in Tirana in 1964, studied at the Faculty of Medicine of his hometown and completed a doctorate at the University of Padua in Italy. Since 1999 he lives and pursues his profession as postdoc in the Department of Cardiology Sciences , Thoracic and Vascular at the University of Padua.
As an author Dedja has published in Albania the poetry volumes: Shpella e trishtimeve të tua (Naim Frashëri, 1994) and I thopërkuom (Korbi, 2003). In 2010 he published in Italy the bilingual poetry volume La manutenzione delle maschere | Mirëmbajtja e maskave (Kolibris, 2010). His first volume of short stories, Amputime të zgjatura (Ombra GVG) was published in 2011 and translated by the author himself, in Italy in 2014 (Besa - Controluce). For the second volume of stories, Histori (e)skatologjike (Pika pa sipërfaqe, 2014), Dedja received the prize Author of the Year at the 17th Book Fair in Tirana. It just came out his fourth volume of poetry (second in Italian): The vanishing twin (Besa - Controluce).
Slavenka Drakulić (Kroatia)
Slavenka Drakulić, born in Croatia (former Yugoslavia) in 1949, is a journalist and author whose books and essays have been translated into many languages. In How We Survived Communism and Café Europa she deals with everyday life in communist and post-communist countries. In the USA, she has published five novels: Holograms Of Fear; Marble Skin; The Taste Of A Man; S. – A Novel About the Balkans (made into a feature film As If I Am Not There ); and Frida’s Bed. Drakulić is a contributing editor in different papers in USA (The Nation; The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine and The New York Review Of Books), Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Internazionale (Italy), Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), The Guardian (UK), Eurozine etc. Slavenka Drakulić is the recipient of the 2004 Leipzig Book-fair “Award for European Understanding.” At the Gathering of International Writers in Prague in 2010 she was proclaimed as one of the most influential European writers of our time.
Ahmet Dursun (Turkey/Albania)
Ahmet Dursun is a wellknown civil rights activist, publicist and writer. He has initiated and implemented several projects in Tirana and country–wide on awareness raising and strengthening of civic/democratic engagement. 2008 he published his novel “Jailer’s pen” as the first writer who was not born in Albania, but writes in Albanian language, dealing with the post-communist period. It was praised by literary critics, but also nominated as one of the seven competitive novels prize “Petro Marko” for the National Contest organized by the Albanian Ministry of Culture 2010. Dursun is also a publicist and writes about different problems which are actual for the Albanian society. He realized several series of his show “Who is…?” on the public broadcaster, RTSH, where he interviews representatives from academic, political, economic, cultural, religious life of Albania and abroad.
Ilir Ferra (Austria)
Ilir Ferra was born in 1974 in Albania and went to Austria in 1991. He studied translation (English and Italian) at the University of Vienna. For his literary work, he has received various awards and scholarships, including the prestigious award Adelbert von Chamisso for his debut novel "Rauchschatten". "Minus" is his second novel. The author lives with his family in Vienna.
Kim Mehmeti (Macedonia)
Kim Mehmeti was born 1955 in Gërçec near Skopje, where he now lives and works. He is a leading and innovative prose writer from the Albanian community in Macedonia and the author of eleven volumes of prose, including Lulehëna (Moon Flower), Peja 1997, Fshati i fëmijve të mallkuar (The Village of the Damned Children), Peja 1998, and Ritet e Nishanes (Nishane's Rites), Peja 2004. One of his novels has appeared in German, Das Dorf der verfluchten Kinder (The Village of the Damned Children), Klagenfurt 2002. Mehmeti also writes in Macedonian and translates between the two languages.
Terézia Mora (Germany)
Terézia Mora was born in 1971 in Sopron, Hungary. Since 1990 she lives in Berlin and is one of the most renowned translators from Hungarian language. In 1999 she made her literary debut with the story collection "Strange Matter", which was a sensation. For these stories, she has received the Open Mike Literature Prize, the Ingeborg-Bachmann Prize (1999) and the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize (2000). In 2004 was published the novel "AlleTage", which was invariably praised by the critics and was well received by the readers. For the novel, she received the Mara Cassens Prize for the best novel debut of the year, the Berlin Art Prize, the LiteraTour-North Prize and the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair. The novel "The Beast" was in 2013 awarded with the German Book Prize.
Andrej Nikolaidis (Montenegro)
Andrej Nikolaidis was born in Sarajevo 1974. He has writen several novels ("Them!", "Mimesis", "The Son", "The Coming", "The delay. Paresia", "Nine"), short stories collections ("Essays on indifference", "Why Mira Furlan", "The cathedral in Seattle", "A small encycolpedia of madness") and collections of essays ("A beautifull day at the Plaza de la Constitucion", "Homo Sucker: A poetic of Apocalypse", "Changing of the Guards").He is a winner of the European Union Prize for Literature 2011. His novels are translated in 13 European languages, in 22 editions. He lives in Ulqin, Montenegro.
Klemens Renoldner (Austria)
Klemens Renoldner (born 1953) studied literature and music in Salzburg and Vienna; worked then as dramaturg in a number of renowned theatres of German language (Burgtheater, Wiener Festwochen, Vienna; Munich, Zurich, and others) and later, as a curator of literature in the Austrian Cultural Forum in Berlin. Since 2008 he is the Director of “Stefan Zweig Centre” at the Salzburg University. 2008 his short stories “Man schließt kurz die Augen” were published. His novel "Lily's Impatience" came out at the end of 2011. Then two other books with short stories were published 2013 (Avenida Errázuriz ) and 2015 (Der Weisheit letzter Schuss). Klemens Renoldner lives in Anthering, Salzburg.
Carlos Campos Serna (Mexico/Albania)
Carlos Campos Serna was born in Acapulco, Mexico. After studying architecture at the Metropolitan University in Mexico City, he worked as an architect with UNICEF in Chiapas, México with the native population, the Chamulas. With his family he had to move in different countries, in Argentina, India, Germany and Peru, which are the scenes of his short stories. He has writen seven books, among others “Puré latino”, “Sin presencia de arquitecto”, “Cama Democrática and Salpicando de tinta mi existencia”. Carlos Campos Serna is the Vice President of the Latin American Academy of Modern Literature. Actually he is living with his wife in Tirana, Albania.
Ornela Vorpsi (France)
Ornela Vorpsi was born in Tirana. After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana, she studied in Milan l'Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera; then finished her studies in Paris à Paris VIII University. Vorpsi's first book is photographic monograph "Nothing Obvious" by Swiss publisher Scalo. In her years in Paris, Vorpsi turned into writing. "Il paese doeve muore non si mai" "Bevete cacao Van Houten!" "La mano che non Mordi" "Fuorimondo" "Vetri Rosa" are books written in italian, and published by Einaudi. Vorpsi's books were translated into 18 languages. Arrangements are being made for translation in Albanian language. In 2012 she was named by Aleksander Hemon and Zadie Smith as one of the 35 best writers of Europe in Best European Fiction. Vorpsi won many prizes for her books: Grinzane Cavour, Elio Vittorini, Premio Rappallo, Premio Viareggio, Premio Luco Mastronardi, Premio città di Tropea, Prix méditeranéen des lycéen. After many years in France, Vorpsi decided to write in French. Her latest book is published by the publishing house Gallimard.