WB Success Stories: Reading Balkans: Borders vs. Frontiers

Breaking down barriers through books;  the group of refugee writers fighting against fear politics.

The crossing of borders for artists, books and ideas is more important than ever before. ‘Reading Balkans: Borders vs. Frontiers’ is a project whose focus is on cooperation beyond borders and is also being propagated by refugee writers that are uniting against topics such as old wounds from the Balkan wars, rising nationalism and borders – literal and metaphorical – being erected. This campaign aims to strengthen the dialogue around these subjects and profoundly understand the associated present-day obstacles.  


The core of the EU-funded project consists of eight festivals with two main topics: Borders vs. Frontiers and Exile in Language. There will be video storytelling projects which will culminate in five videos produced by refugee writers and five videos produced by Balkan authors. More than 72 writers are participating in the project and their works have been translated into English or German, which encourages the mobility of literary works all over Europe, particularly within the Balkan region. There is also the possibility of four-week residency programmes for Balkan writers (42 residencies in seven countries), who are selected on a competitive basis.  

The Reading Balkans project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Its Literary Residency Programme is open to fiction writers, poets, essayists and playwrights from Southeast Europe (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia). 

The Literary Residence Programme 

The Literary Residence Programme is a subsection of the Reading Balkans project. It is open to fiction writers, poets, essayists, playwrights, screenplay writers and comic book writers from Southeast Europe who are innovative and tackle contemporary themes in their works. At the residencies, writers have the chance to work on their new texts, exchange creative views and potentially work with the Literary Agent: a new business model for intensive promotion of Balkan literature and writers. In 2021, the Reading Balkans Residency selection committee received 101 applications and selected 19 authors. These authors will be hosted by various publishing houses across the Western Balkans to fight against intolerance through literature. Dissemination events include 14 international bookfairs and readings at the ‘Balkan Nacht’ event at the Leipzig bookfair in Germany.  

The COVID-19 pandemic affected some international movement, but the summer has brought more travelling and reinstated some earlier plans. Residencies will be in progress until March 30th, 2022.  

The Reading Balkans: Borders vs. Frontiers project is an example of EU funds enhancing the resilience of the Western Balkans and spurring on transformation in this region. Horizon Europe, the EU’s new 7-year framework programme (2021-2027) for innovation and research, represents the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever and is also open to the Western Balkan regions. 

Project website: https://www.readingbalkans.eu/news/reading-balkans-borders-vs-frontiers/


Project Coordinator: ZALOZBA GOGA, SI
Project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme, Project 607394-CREA-1-2019-1-SI-CULT-COOP1


Geographical focus
  • European Union (EU 28)
  • WBC
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Humanities

Entry created by Admin WBC-RTI.info on October 13, 2021
Modified on October 13, 2021