The recipient of the Central European Initiative Fellowship for the year 2016 is

Tanja Bakić from Montenegro.

tanja bakic_photo Jan GavuraTanja Bakić, born in 1981, is a Montenegrin poet, literary scholar, and translator who also writes on music. She graduated with an MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Montenegro. She is a Bloomsbury authors, one the UK’s leading publishers. She was a speaker at the William Blake Colloquium at the world-renowned Tate Britain gallery in London, where she also held a poetry performance. A recipient of the Modern Humanities Research Association grant, she has been featured in the line-ups at various international festivals, named artist-in-residence in several countries, and twice selected by an international jury of art critics as the Montenegrin representative at the art biennial of Europe and the Mediterranean – in Ancona in 2013 and in Milan in 2015. She has contributed an aural component to a plant installation by the Australian eco-designer Tanja Beer that was presented by Arts House (Melbourne) in partnership with Cambridge Junction, UK. She is responsible for the Montenegrin component of the world poetry festival ‘Palabra en el Mundo’ (the co-founder of the World Poetry Movement, which was initiated in Cuba, Chile and Argentina). Her music-related bestselling non-fiction work, Voodoo Child: Priča o Jimiju Hendrixu (Voodoo Child: A Story About Jimi Hendrix, 2013) – revealing her collaboration with Hendrix’s former London-based girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, his sound engineer Roger Mayer, and with Bojan Z., the world renown jazz musician – was the most talked-about book of the year in Montenegro.

From the committee’s justification:
In her new work “Lost Memories,” the young Montenegrin author Tanja Bakić turns to a literary form that is a rather rare one these days: the epistolary novel. Her very choice of form has earned her additional attention. The novel consists of letters by women from Montenegro and the Czech Republic – from countries that on the face of things have nothing more in common that a few formal historical postulates – and the work stokes our imagination even before we have begun to discover these women’s lives, even before we, as readers, meet with their memories. We imagine that these women share much more than a common history of socialism and that fact that their countries were born around the same time. Bakić underlines that she is interested, as well, in the entirely concrete “lost memories” that she will reveal also through the examination of the individual environments. We readers, meanwhile, will surely be curious to learn whether these women’s letters consist more of forgetting than of memories. What do the women want to remember in their correspondence? And what do they want to forget? The question is of course this: why? What is it that propels them?
Is it more than just time and the personal desire to forget that influences their lost memories? How much of their memory must indeed be “lost”? It is, after all, well known that a person can lose everything, except their memory. And yet, that is unfortunately only a partial truth. But even memories that have been lost are part of our personal history.

About the CEI Fellowship for Writers in Residence
Since 2006 the CEI Fellowship for Writers in Residence has been presented by the Central European Initiative in collaboration with the Slovene Writers’ Association, as part of the Vilenica Festival. The Fellowship seeks to encourage cross-border cooperation and promotion in the field of literature for young writers from Central European Initiative member states that are not members of the European Union. The Fellowship, which is endowed with a cash award of 5,000 EUR, is intended to be used for a three-month residence in any CEI member state of the candidate’s choice. During this period the author is expected to work on the project indicated in the application form. The recipient of the fellowship will be announced in August, the fellowship will be presented to him or her at the opening ceremony.

Previous CEI Fellowship recipients:
2015 – Kateryna Kalytko, Ukraine
2014 – Mirko Božić, BiH / Croatia
2013 – Artem Chapeye, Ukraine
2012 – Ajla Terzić, BiH
2011 – Ognjen Spahić, Montenegro
2010 – Maja Hrgović, Croatia
2009 – Dragan Radovančević, Serbia
2008 – Ivana Sajko, Croatia
2007 – Marianna Kiyanovska, Ukraine
2006 – Goce Smilevski, Macedonia

International jury members for the CEI Fellowship for 2016:
Patrizia Vascotto, Italy, president
Ludwig Hartinger, Austria
Dragica Potočnjak, Slovenia
Đurđa Strsoglavec, Slovenia
Namita Subiotto, Slovenia