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Credit: Lea Župancic

Looking for Common Ground?
Reading Southeastern Europe
Grüner Salon

Discourse, Concert

An event of the transcultural festival POSTWEST

Panel I. Senka Maric (Mostar), Jeton Neziraj (Pristina)
Moderation: Doris Akrap (taz, Berlin)

Panel II. Lana Bastasic (Belgrade, Barcelona), Rumena Buzarovska (Skopje)
Moderation: Tino Schlench (literaturpalast, Vienna)

A buffer zone in tense times and a melting pot of various cultural and political influences? From the perspective of Southeastern Europe, the cultural and political notions of East and West have always been complex and in a constant state of flux. In a conversation about their literary works, four authors discuss different concepts of East and West—and the recurring question of belonging—from the perspective of Southeastern Europe. To what extent are the perceptions of East and West shaped by different regional, local, and individual contexts? For example, what is the role played by the historical narratives that are being increasingly exploited for political purposes during and after the wars in former Yugoslavia? To what extent are these perceptions influenced by experiences of migration or generational conflicts? Has language become a political issue as a result? Does gender play a role? And how is all of this reflected in literature? Ultimately, how do East and West position themselves in a geographical, political, and cultural space that belongs to both and neither at the same time?

The discussion is followed by a concert of Damir Avdić—a musician and lyricist whose distorted guitar riffs and haunting voice hit all the sore spots precisely and confronts the audience with their own prejudice, comfort and hipocrisy.

Lana Bastašić is a Yugoslav-born writer. She studied English Language and Literature and holds an MA degree in Cultural Studies. She has published two collections of short stories and one of poetry. Uhvati zeca (Catch the Rabbit), her first novel, was published in 2018. She co-founded Escola Bloom in Barcelona and she co-edits the school's literary magazine Carn de cap.

Rumena Bužarovska was born in 1981 in Skopje, Northern Macedonia. She has authored four short story collections, a booklet of flash fiction, as well as a study on humor in contemporary American and Macedonian short fiction. She is a literary translator from English into Macedonian and associate professor of American literature at the State University in Skopje. She is co-initiator and co-organizer of the PeachPreach women’s storytelling event and hosts a radio show under the same name.

Senka Marić is a Bosnian poet, short stories writer, essayist, translator, and editor. She was born in 1972 and has published three books of poetry and her first novel Kintsugi tijela (Body Kintsugi) was awarded the Meša Selimović Prize in 2019. She is editor in chief of the online magazine for literature, art and culture Portal Strane (

Jeton Neziraj is a playwright and the Director of Qendra Multimedia. He has written over 25 plays that have been staged, translated and published widely in Europe and in the USA. The German theatre magazine Theater der Zeit and the German Radio Deutschlandfunk Kultur have described him as ‘Kafka of the Balkans’, while Los Angeles Times called him “a world- class playwright who challenges our complacency at every twist and turn”.

Doris Akrap was born in 1974 Croatia and grew up in Flörsheim am Main. She studied cultural and religious studies in Berlin and works as a journalist and editor at taz. Her articles were also published in The Guardian and Die Zeit. Together with several other journalists, she founded the anti-racist reading show Hate Poetry.

Tino Schlench was Born in Uckermark/Brandenburg and holds a degree in cultural studies and modern German literature from the Humbold University in Berlin. After spending a year as visiting scholar at University of Berkley, Schlench started working as research associate at the Institute for Contemporary History in Vienna. In 2018, he started a literary blog @literaturpalast, focusing on literature from Eastern Europe.

In cooperation with

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

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