Belgrade, ancient city and the capital of Serbia, is situated beneath
Mount Avala, at the mouth of the rivers Sava and Danube. It has always
been an important trade centre and a goal for conquerors. It was a key
city for the Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Habsburgs and others. This heritage
is still present in many of the works of its writers and artists.
In modern times, writers in Belgrade have been inspired by themes of the big metropolis, the different regions of Serbia and from abroad. Prose writing has taken two major routes, one dedicated to Serbian history, and the other to dealing with more modern themes. Major novelists from Belgrade include Nobel prize winner Ivo Andrić, Danilo Kiš and Borislav Pekić. Currently the prominent writers are David Albahari, Svetislav Basara and Srđan Valjarević, among others.
The poetry scene is lively and has grown in influence in recent times. Miloš Crnjanski, Vasko Popa, Miodrag Pavlović, Borislav Radović, Milutin Petrović are all greatly admired and today Belgrade is proud of it's young voices such as Ana Ristović, Dragan Radovančević and others.Belgrade has always been a regional center for literary publications. There is the old and famous literary magazine Književnost and today there are many equally important literary magazines, such as Pismo, Poezija, Književni magazin, Treći Trg and Beogradski književni časopis. Belgrade always was and still is a centre for the publishing and performing of literature. Its International Book Fair is one of the biggest and most visited events in the region.
'I like to use the languages of the various arts – literature, music, theatre...I think that is the spirit of the modern global era.'- poet Ivan Hristov spoke to SJ Fowler of 3AM magazine about the evolution of the contemporary Bulgarian poetry scene.
Cosmin Borza discusses the work of Romania's 'Generation 2000' poets, including Radu Vancu and Claudiu Komartin in an essay at Asymptote.
At the Sofia Poetics festival, which was organised by Word Express participant Ivan Hristov, Scottish based poet Ryan Van Winkle caught up with fellow festival guests SJ Fowler and Tomasz Rózycki. To hear Fowler and Rózycki discussing their work and reading some of their poetry, listen to the Scottish Poetry Library podcast here.