The CEI Award for Young Writers is promoted by the Central European Initiative (CEI) and the Slovene Writers’ Association (SWA) within the Vilenica International Literary Festival. In the context of the extraordinary challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEI and the SWA have n 2021 decided to revise the long-standing CEI Fellowship for Writes in Residence and provide a new concept to the initiative, launching the CEI Award for Young Writers. The Award aims at promoting the young generation of writers and supporting the circulation of their literary works through the translation in the languages of the CEI countries. The Award envisages the translation of one of the awardee’s works into Slovenian and the translation into another CEI language of the candidate’s choice.

The jury for the CEI Award for Young Writers for 2023 – consisting of Suzana Tratnik (President), Leonora Flis, Aljoša Harlamov, Aljaž Koprivnikar and Jaruška Majovski, – have granted the award to Tijana Rakočević from Montenegro.


Tijana Rakočević: Photo © Vladimir Popović

Tijana Rakocević was born on June 23, 1994 in Podgorica. She is a PhD student at the Faculty ofPhilology in Niksić, Department of Montenegrin Language and South Slavic Literature and a scholarship holder of the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts for 2016/17. Tijana Rakocevic has published a book of poetry (All that Shining Quantums) and book of short fiction (Intimus); her works- essays, reviews, poems, and stories, translated into several world languages or in the original – can be found in regional literary periodicals.

Rakocević won the first prize for the best drama in the competition organized by Montenegrin National Theatre and second prize in the international competition ,A Sea Of Words” (organized by European Mediterannean Institute, Barcelona, among competitors from cca. 40 countries). Also, she won the first prize for the best short story in Montenegro in 2019 in the competition organized by the Podgorica Art Festival and she is the author of the best story inspired by mountain Bihor (2020), a best queer story ofthe region (2021), Ministry of Culture Award for a best short story for the IPA project HAMLET (Interreg IPA cross-border cooperation program Italy- Albania-Montenegro), first prize in the competition of the Institute ,Goethe” fio· m Zagreb (Croatia) for the best poem about water (2021), and third prize in the competition ofthe American Comer for the best story inspired by life and work of American writers (Granica/Border, 2021). She is the winner of the residential scholarship of the European network for literature ,Traduki” (2022).

Tijana Rakocević is a member of the Montenegrin PEN Center. She is also a member of the editorial board of the Montenegrin magazine for literature and culture Fokalizator (Focalizer). She was an associate of the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts (CANU/MASA), the Center for Contemporary Art of Montenegro (Centar savremene umjetnosti), also the Institute for Textbooks and Teaching Aids Podgorica (Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva), and is currently employed by the Government of Montenegro.


Tijana Rakočević (1995, Montenegro) is a young breakthrough author who is a poet, playwright and writer of fiction, as well as a doctoral student at the Faculty of Philology in Nikšić and a member of the editorial board of the literary and cultural newspaper Fokalizator. She has published the poetry collection Sve blistavi quanti (RVP, 2018) and the short story collection Intimus (Fokalizator, 2023). Most of her published stories have earned her important domestic and international awards. With her writing, she has unsettled the dominant heteronormative view in Montenegrin literature – which is saturated with rural symbolism and folklore myths – and, instead, established a new narrative paradigm from a feminist perspective and using an innovative form of communication between the literary text and the culture in which it was created. Tijana Rakočević’s prose is in lockstep with contemporary literary trends, and through her precise, analytical and unyielding writing, she simultaneously decolonizes the female body and lays bare how society has come to accept violence against women and sexual minorities.