Foreign guests at Vilenica 2017

Dubravka Ugrešić, Croatia/Netherlands

Dubravka Ugrešić: Photo © Judith Jockel

Dubravka Ugrešić was born in 1949 in Kutina, Croatia. Due to her anti-war stance at the outbreak of the Yugoslav war in 1991, she became a target for the right-wing press, politicians, and even her fellow writers. She left the country in 1993 to settle in Amsterdam. After her experience of exile, Ugrešić concentrated on literarised essays, foregrounding themes of war, refugees, the issue of identity. Over the recent years she has criticised the unbridled, uncritical consumerism typical of contemporary society and culture. Her oeuvre has been recognised with major literary prizes: she received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the Vilenica Prize.

Tanja Bakić, Montenegro

Tanja Bakić: Photo © Maja Bakić

Tanja Bakić, born in 1981, is a poet, translator, and a music and literary critic. She is the author of several poetry collections, and is also known for her successful musical monograph Voodoo Child: Priča o Jimiju Hendrixu (Voodoo Child: A Story About Jimi Hendrix, 2013). She took part in a colloquium in London’s Tate Britain gallery with an academic paper titled “William Blake in the Former Yugoslavia”, where she also gave a poetry performance. Bakić is a regular guest of literary festivals and her poems have been published in international anthologies.

Antonella Bukovaz, Italy

Antonella Bukovaz: Photo © Maurizio Frullani

Antonella Bukovaz was born in 1963 in the village of Topolovo (Topolò) in Veneto. She is a poet and a performer, involved in several art projects on both sides of the border. Among others, she wrote the texts for Hanna Preuss’s Sonorous Theatre plays, in which she also performed, and which were published in the bilingual publication 3 X 3 besede za teater/3X3 parole per il teatro (3×3 Words for Theatre, 2016). Lately, her focus is mostly on poetry, with a special interest in the interaction between words, sound, and images at poetry readings, in video-poetry, and audio-video installations.

Rumena Bužarovska, Macedonia

Rumena Bužarovska: Photo © Lilika Strezoska

Rumena Bužarovska was born in 1981 in Skopje, where she is an associate professor of American literature at the University of Skopje. She is the author of three short story collections – namely, Чкртки (Scribbles, 2006), Осмица (Wisdom Tooth, 2010) and Мојот маж (My Husband, 2014) – as well as What’s Funny: Theories Of Humor Applied To The Short Story (2012), a monograph on humour in contemporary American and Macedonian short fiction. In 2016 she was selected as one of the ten most promising European authors (Ten New Voices from Europe) by LAF.

Inger Elisabeth Hansen: Photo © Aschehoug Forlag

Inger Elisabeth Hansen, Norway

Inger Elisabeth Hansen is regarded as one of the most prominent Norwegian poets. She has so far published nine poetry collections and translated or reworked several authors from the Spanish speaking regions. She is the president of the Norwegian Writers’ Association and the member of the Literary Council of the Writers’ Association. She has been awarded many prizes, among them the Gylendal Prize, the Dobloug Prize, the Aschehoug Prize, the Brage Prize, the Norwegian Critics’ Association Award, and the Triztan Vindtorn Poetry Prize.

Esther Kinsky, Germany

Esther Kinsky: Photo © Matthes & Seitz Berlin

Esther Kinsky was born in 1956 in Engelskirchen. She studied Slavic studies and English literature in Bonn and Toronto; since 1986 she has been translating from English, Russian and Polish. She writes poetry, fiction and children’s literature. Her latest work is a poetry collection Am Kalten Hang / viagg’ invernal (On The Cold Slope. A Wintry Travel, 2016). She has received several awards for her literary and translation work (Paul Celan Prize, Adelbert von Chamisso Prize). After having lived in London and in Battonya (Hungary) for many years, she now resides in Berlin.

Kerrie O’Brien, Ireland

Kerrie O’ Brien: Photo © Liv Monaghan

Kerrie O’Brien was born in 1987 in Dublin, Ireland, where she graduated from art history and architecture. A writer and a poet, she publishes in various literary magazines. Her debut poetry collection Illuminate, dealing with universal topics of humanity, such as love, death and loneliness,  was published in 2016 and earned much acclaim.  She is also involved in other projects: she has been lecturing on art and poetry at the National Gallery of Ireland, and on creative writing and literary activism at University College Dublin as well as at York University.

Vladimir Pištalo, Serbia/USA

Vladimir Pištalo: Photo © Nebosa Babic

Vladimir Pištalo was born in 1960 in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and soon moved to Belgrade. In 1993, he migrated to the USA, where he is currently lecturing American and world history at Becker College Massachusetts. He is one of the most important contemporary Serbian authors, and has published eleven fiction works so far, the most famous being the fictionalized biographical novel Tesla, portret među maskama (Tesla: a Portrait with Masks), which also proved to be a selling hit in the USA, and for which he received the Serbian literary award NIN for the best novel of 2008.

Iain Reid, Canada

Iain Reid: Photo © Lucas Tingle

Iain Reid was born in 1980 in the province of Ontario. After studying history, English literature and philosophy, he began writing articles and columns for several magazines and newspapers. After two memoirs – One Bird’s Choice: A Year in the Life of an Over-educated, Underemployed Twentysomething Who Moves Back Home (2010) and The Truth About Luck: What I Learned on my Road Trip with Grandma (2013) – he published his debut novel, the philosophical thriller I’m Thinking of Ending Things, in 2016. He received the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award in 2015.


Torgeir Schjerven

Torgeir Schjerven, Norway

Torgeir Schjerven was born in 1954. For four years he has studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bergn. He is a painter, as well as an illustrator, sculptor, sometimes also scenographer for theatre and film. His poetry debut was published in 1981. Since then, he has been working as a writer and an editor with several publishing houses. Besides poetry collections, he also published two novels. He has received many awards for his work, among them the Norwegian Critics’ Association Award, the Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature Award, as well as the Halldis Moren Vesaas Prize.

Fahredin Shehu, Kosovo

Fahredin Shehu: Photo © Visar Korenica

Fahredin Shehu was born in 1972 in the village of Rahovec and graduated from Oriental studies in Priština. He is a poet, writer, essayist, an independent researcher of the world spiritual heritage and sacral aesthetics, and is a calligraphy enthusiast. He has published several books in Albanian and English, the last being an epic MAELSTRON – The Four Scrolls of an Illyrian Sage (2014), in which he writes about spiritual visions, creative unrest, etc. Shehu is also the director of the international poetry festival Poetry and Wine that takes place in his birth village.

Hedi Wyss, Switzerland

Hedi Wyss was born in 1940 in Bern. Since 1966, she has been working as a freelance journalist, the major topics of her journalistic and literary interest being art, women’s issues (Das rosarote Mädchenbuch. Ermutigung zu einem neuen Bewusstsein – The Pink Book for Girls. Encouragement for a New Thinking), ecology (Der Ozean steigt – The Ocean is Rising), as well as behavioural biology of people and animals. She writes for adults, youth and children, her latest book being Der weisse Hirsch (The White Deer). She has received several awards for her work.