Press room

Istanbul press conference: launch of the Word Express publication

Monday 1st November 2010
Romeo Juliet Bar
Refik Saydam Caddesi. Kuytu Sok. No:4 Şişhane Beyoğlu, Taksim
7pm

A press conference to mark the Turkish publication of the Word Express anthology is taking place in Istanbul this Monday. Join us to find out more about this book - the story of the Word Express journey and the Turkish translation of the poetry, prose and visual arts of the next generation of literature-makers from South East Europe.

25 writers from the Balkans and the UK will be there to discuss their experiences and the press conference will be followed by a multi-media performance with music from 9pm - find out more on our events pages

PRESS RELEASE
October 2010

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ECONOMIES STALL BUT LITERATURE KEEPS MOVING ACROSS SOUTH EAST EUROPE


Literary exchange and translation thrive despite turbulent economic times

Young writers from South East Europe are having their fiction, poetry and essays translated into the languages of their neighbours for the first time in a region marked by past and present political conflict. Word Express, a project organised by Literature Across Frontiers with support from  British Council’s Creative Collaborations programme and the Culture programme of the EU, brings together writers, translators and artists from countries across the Balkans, Turkey, Caucasus, Israel and the UK in a series of creative and discursive encounters.

In October 2009, Word Express took twenty young writers on a train journey through the Balkans to Istanbul. The project has continued throughout 2010 with a string of literary events in the region, despite funding shortages, travel chaos caused by the volcanic ash-cloud and sometimes even through clouds of tear-gas when Word Express writers witnessed riots in the streets of Athens in late April and early May. Events at which project participants met included festivals in Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia and Romania, as well as workshops in Scotland, Turkey and Wales. Events this October include readings in Belgrade and Skopje, and multimedia poetry performance at the Sha’ar International Poetry Festival in Tel Aviv.

The year will be concluded with a three-day event in Istanbul on the anniversary of the 2009 Word Express journey during which 25 writers, translators and artists will read and debate in different venues around the city and at the Istanbul Book Fair.

Zerrin Yilmaz, the Istanbul-based coordinator of the project, says: “Word Express gives young Turkish writers a unique opportunity to connect with their peers in neighbouring countries and have their work translated into a dozen languages, including English, something they would not have been able to achieve otherwise. At the same time, Turkish readers will gain access to the best of new writing from South East Europe through the translations the project generates.”

Alexandra Büchler, Director of Literature Across Frontiers, says: “Word Express makes a new generation of South East European writers visible and creates an opportunity for dialogue and dissemination of their work across the region. Despite the impact of the financial crisis which has resulted in drastic cuts to cultural budgets, we are making literature travel against all odds thanks to the dedication of the individuals and organisations involved in the project.”

Notes to Editors:


1.Word Express is a project creating a platform for intercultural dialogue through literary exchange in the region of South East Europe bringing together young writers, translators, editors, artists and musicians from Armenia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, Turkey and the United Kingdom. In 2009 twenty participants travelled together on three different train journeys through the region to Istanbul. Their arrival in time for the inaugural Istanbul Tanpınar Literature Festival and the Istanbul Book Fair has been followed by a period of writing in response to their experiences and translation of their work.

2 . British Council’s Creative Collaboration Programme aims to enrich the cultural life of Europe and its surrounding countries and to build trust and understanding across communities by generating dialogue and debate.

3. Several young writers from the UK are taking part in Word Express. The Welsh prose writer Owen Martell travelled to Istanbul in 2009 and took part in a translation workshop at Ty-Neydd in Wales, together with his colleague Siân Melangell Dafydd who also appeared at the Vilenica Literature Festival in Slovenia, London poet and editor Tom Chivers created a commission as part of the Athens Literature Festival, and Scottish Poetry Library reader Ryan Van Winkle took part in a workshop in Scotland which resulted in a performance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Siân  Melangell Dafydd and Ryan van Winkle will be in Istanbul in October.

4. Word Express is organised by Literature Across Frontiers and Delta Publishing with the support of the EU Cultural Programme and the British Council’s Creative Collaboration programme. A network of local partners - literary organisation, magazines and festival - is also helping to make the project possible.

5. You can find out more about who is involved, read writing in translation and discover the latest news and events at www.word-express.org and on the events page at www.lit-across-frontiers.org

Press Contacts for Word Express in the UK:                  

Alexandra Büchler Director, Literature Across Frontiers   alexandra@lit-across-frontiers.org 

Nia Davies, Communications Manager, Literature Across Frontiers nia@lit-across-frontiers.org

Press Contact for Word Express in Turkey:

Zerrin Yilmaz, Delta Publishing (Turkey) zerrinyilmaz@gmail.com

Press Contact for Creative Collaborations, British Council:

Aida Berxholi British Council, Albania   Aida.Berxholi@britishcouncil.org

Clare SearsBritish Council, Albania Clare.Sears@britishcouncil.org

Want to read more? The writers involved.
The cities visited.
The events happening.
The partners.
The project.
The travel blog

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PRESS RELEASE
March 1st, 2010

BALKAN BUZZ: A historic meeting of young writers from South Eastern Europe sparks new  collaborations across frontiers.

In October 2009 over fifty writers from the Balkans, Turkey, the UK and Israel met on the Word Express - three train journeys carrying writers across the region, converging in Istanbul, Turkey. Since this unique meeting several translations and collaborations have been underway bringing together writers, translators, visual artists and journalists from regions previously kept apart by political hostilities.

Despite sharing a love of language and literature, some of the Word Express writers are now reading the literature of their neighbours for the first time. New friendships and discussions have been sparked, and some writers are being translated for the first time.

This spring sees the first of 2010 meetings and events, with translations set to be published across Europe and a film of the Word Express journey in production. Many of the writers will also be revisiting the cities they travelled through and will once again meet in Istanbul this autumn to celebrate Istanbul as European Capital of Culture 2010.

 In 2010 you can catch the Word Express writers at events across Europe. Activities this spring include:

-      6 th – 11 th of April: Prose Translation Workshop at Ty Newydd writers house in Wales (with Owen Martell, Milan Dobricic, Sian Melangell Dafydd, Igor Isakovski, and Mima Simic

-      6 th – 10 th May: Athens International Literature Festival in Greece (with writers in residence Netalie Braun and Tom Chivers, Gokçenur Ç,   Adela Greceanu,  Ivan Hristov and Greek writers Ilias Maglinis,   Katerina Iliopoulou and others)

-      18 th – 22 nd May: Treci Trg Festival in Belgrade Serbia, (with Igor Isakovski and others to be confirmed)

  Some the Word Express writers will meet again  in August at The Edinburgh Book Festival, in September at the Vilenica Festival in Slovenia, and in October at the Sha’ar International Poetry Festival in Israel.   

Word Express is organised by Literature Across Frontiers and Delta Publishing with the support of the EU Cultural Programme and the British Council. Several local partners are also helping to make this possible. Click here to find out more.

Want to read more?
The writers involved.
The cities visited.
The events happening.
The partners.
The project.
The travel blog

Press Contacts for Word Express:
Alexandra Büchler / Catrin Ashton, Literature Across Frontiers (UK) alexandra@lit-across-frontiers.org / catrin@walesliterature.org      www.lit-across-frontiers.org
Zerrin Yilmaz
, Delta Publishing (Turkey) zerrinyilmaz@gmail.com

Press Contact for Creative Collaborations:
Aida Berxholi
/ Clare Sears, British Council, Albania     Aida.Berxholi@britishcouncil.org / Clare.Sears@britishcouncil.org

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PRESS RELEASE
7th November 2009

Young writers from South Eastern Europe and the UK meet on a landmark journey to Istanbul

Young writers from every corner of South Eastern Europe and from the UK met in Istanbul last week, having travelled from all over the region together on the Word Express.

Word Express is a unique project for literary exchange, co-organised by Literature Across Frontiers and the British Council, which highlights new literary voices of South East Europe. Having set out from Bucharest, Ljubljana and Sarajevo, twenty writers have been travelling by train through Zagreb, Sofia, Belgrade, Skopje and Thessaloniki.

Along the way they have been writing, translating and performing their work to new audiences. They have also been meeting their peers in each city, helping establish new cultural connections and foster understanding across borders. In a region marked by past and current conflict, the organisers and their partners hope to build new literary collaborations and intercultural dialogue.

The Word Express group reached Istanbul on the 30 th of October and was given a warm welcome by the project’s organisers and Turkish media on the very platform where the Orient Express once used to stop.They then spent by five eventful days exploring the city, discussing, translating each other’s work, filming, sound-recording, photographing and giving readings as part of the Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festivaland the Istanbul International Book Fair.

Alexandra Büchler, Director of Literature Across Frontiers, said: "The Word Express project has brought together a wonderful group of young authors who have shared their writing and ideas with each other and with their audiences along the way. They have started a number of new projects on which they will be working in the coming months, but most of all they have formed creative relationships and lasting friendships which will make it possible for them to continue discovering the literary and cultural environments in which each of them lives and works and developing the network they have established.”

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www.britishcouncil.org/creativecollaboration

Press Contacts for Word Express:
Alexandra Büchler / Esther Prydderch, Literature Across Frontiers (UK) alexandra@lit-across-frontiers.org / esther@walesliterature.org      www.lit-across-frontiers.org
Zerrin Yilmaz
, Delta Publishing (Turkey) zerrinyilmaz@gmail.com

Press Contact for Creative Collaborations:
Aida Berxholi
/ Clare Sears, British Council, Albania     Aida.Berxholi@britishcouncil.org / Clare.Sears@britishcouncil.org

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PRESS RELEASE

28 th October 2009


Young writers from South Eastern Europe and the UK cross frontiers on a landmark journey to Istanbul

Writers from every corner of South Eastern Europe and from the UK will meet in Istanbul this Friday, having travelled from all over the region together on the Word Express.

Word Express is a unique project for literary exchange, co-organised by Literature Across Frontiers and the British Council, which highlights new literary voices of South East Europe. Having set out from Bucharest, Ljubljana and Sarajevo, twenty young writers and translators have been travelling by train through Zagreb, Sofia, Belgrade and Skopje to Thessaloniki. From Thessaloniki they will arrive in Istanbul on Friday 30 th October for a five-day creative stay in the city.

Along the way these authors have been writing, translating and performing their work to new audiences. They have also been meeting their peers in each city, helping to establish new cultural connections and foster understanding across borders.In a region marked by past and current conflict, the organisers and their partners hope to build new artistic collaborations and intercultural dialogue.

So far, Raman Mundair(UK) and Efe Duyan (Turkey) have met Slovenian writer Mirt Komel inLjubljana and travelled to Zagreb to pick up Croatian writers Mima Simić  and Marko Pogačar. They join the Macedonians Igor Isakovski and Aleksandra Dimitrova in Skopje, from where they will continue to Thessaloniki to meet Christos Chryssopoulos, Katerina Iliopoulouand other Greek writers.

In Bucharest, Armenian poet and photographer Anahit Hayrapetyan, Ognjen Spahic , a journalist and prose-writer from Montenegro, and novelist   Barış Müstecaplıoğlu (Turkey) were joined by Romanian writers Adela Greceanu and Claudiu Komartin. In Sofia they met Ivan Hristov(Bulgaria) who is travelling with them on to Thessaloniki.

Israeli writer and film-maker Netalie Braun, Welsh novelist Owen Martell and Bosnian poet and journalist   Adisa Bašić have travelled from Sarajevo to Belgrade where they were joined by local writer Milan Dobričić.Theycontinue on to Thessaloniki  via Skopje. The Israeli poet and classical musician Uri Hollander will catch up with the Word Express in Istanbul, where the travelling authors will be awaited by Turkish poets Gokçenur Ç and Yaprak Öz, and novelist Jaklin Çelik.

The Word Express will arrive in Istanbul on the 30 th of October. Istanbul – a city with a growing international reputation for literary and artistic invention – will be alive this weekend with a series of literary events. The Word Express authors will be reading across the city from 1 st to the 3 rd of November, as part of the Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival and the 28 th Istanbul International Book Fair.

Alexandra Büchler, Director of Literature Across Frontiers, said: "Word Express has gathered a wonderful momentum with a group of talented young writers from the region who bring many other artistic skills to the project besides writing. Apart from being recognised for their literary achievements, translation, visual arts, film, photography and music are among the many disciplines in which some of them excel. They have now visited Bucharest, Sofia, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Belgrade and Skopje, and have started responding to the experience of the journey. When they all meet in Thessaloniki and in Istanbul, they will "compare notes" and discuss the many issues – both literary and socio-political – that have arisen throughout their tour of South Eastern Europe. We will be reporting on these discussions and the readings they will give in Istanbul on the Word Express website. So – watch this space.”

After the first stage in his journey, Turkish writer Barış Müstecaplıoğlu, said: “We have spent three wonderful days in Bucharest and now we are preparing for our first journey by train to Sofia. I can already see that the Word Express project gives me a great opportunity to encounter different cultures, people and literatures. I believe that the more you know about the world and people the better you write. I expect that this experience will provide me with new viewpoints, a deeper knowledge about the countries I will visit, and a better understanding of the people in the region. I am sure that all these will enrich my writing in the future.”

You can read a travel blog written by the travelling writers, look up events and find out about the authors on the Word Express website. Visit www.word-express.org to find out more.

Contacts

Alexandra Büchler, Literature Across Frontiers, UK alexandra@lit-across-frontiers.org    M +44 7966216552 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +44 7966216552      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Zerrin Yilmaz, Delta Publishing, Turkey zerrinyilmaz@gmail.com M+ 90 543 3402877

www.word-express.org | www.lit-across-frontiers.org | www.tuyap.com| www.istanbulliteraturefestival.org

Note to Editors:

1. For this project, led by Delta Publishing in Istanbul, the British Council and Literature Across Frontiers work with a number of partners, including the National Book Centre and the Romanian Cultural Institute in Bucharest and Istanbul, Profil Books in Zagreb, Blesok in Skopje, Sarajevske sveske (Sarajevo Notebooks for Regional Culture), Treci trg in Belgrade, Literaturen Vestnik in Sofia, Young Writers Club in Ljubljana, Endefktirio magazine and literary venue in Thessaloniki, Inknagir literary magazine in Yerevan, and Helicon - the Society for the Advancement of Poetry in Israel and the Helicon Poetry Journal in Tel Aviv.

2. In all, twelve countries, including the UK, are participating in the project. Eventually some 50 young writers will be taking part, having their work translated and published across the partner countries.

3. The project is co-financed by the British Council and Literature Across Frontiers (supported by Culture Programme of the European Union), with kind support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia, Institute of the Translation of Hebrew Literature, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, the Scottish Arts Council and Wales Arts International.

PRESS RELEASE

15th October 2009

A train of thought spreads the word through South-East Europe

In the second half of October 2009, twenty young writers from South-East Europe and the United Kingdom will embark on a train journey with a difference. Travelling in three separate groups, the writers will set out from Sarajevo, Bucharest and Ljubljana as part of a literary project called Word Express. Their final destination will be Istanbul, but before reaching the Turkish capital of culture, they will stop in a number of cities along the way to be meet local writers and give readings, and eventually write about their impressions of the places they visit and the people they encounter.

The Word Express writers will arrive in Istanbul on 30 October and will spend five days meeting their Turkish colleagues and presenting their work in several venues, including the newly launched Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival and the annual Istanbul Book Fair.

Word Express is a new project for literary exchange in South-East Europe, coordinated by the UK-based Literature Across Frontiers in cooperation with Delta Publishing in Istanbul, as part of the EU-supported Literature Across Frontiers programme and of the British Council’s Creative Collaboration Programme which aims to enrich the cultural life of Europe and its surrounding countries and to build trust and understanding across communities by generating dialogue and debate. In a region marked with past and present conflicts, Word Express aims to cross cultural and linguistic boundaries and bring new literary voices of the region to the fore.

The project which started in May 2009 and will extend into 2010, aims to create opportunities for literary exchange and dialogue by establishing a network of young writers, translators, literary magazines and venues in twelve countries and connecting them with the UK.

Some fifty young authors and translators will be eventually involved in the project, exploring the region’s cultural, social and political legacy and meeting their colleagues from the participating countries. The participants come from the following countries: Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Israel, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and the United Kingdom – and their work will be translated into the languages of the region and published in literary magazines in each of the participating countries. They will also have the opportunity to work collaboratively on projects combining writing with video and film art, photography and music, to be showcased in the second stage of the project in 2010.

For this project, led by Delta Publishing in Istanbul, the British Council and Literature Across Frontiers work with a number of partners, including the National Book Centre and the Romanian Cultural Institute in Bucharest and Istanbul, Profil Books in Zagreb, Blesok in Skopje, Sarajevske sveske (Sarajevo Notebooks for Regional Culture), Treci trg in Belgrade, Literaturen Vestnik in Sofia, Young Writers Club in Ljubljana, Endefktirio magazine and literary venue in Thessaloniki, Inknagir literary magazine in Yerevan, and Helicon - the Society for the Advancement of Poetry in Israel and the Helicon Poetry Journal in Tel Aviv.

The project is co-financed by the British Council and Literature Across Frontiers (supported by Culture Programme of the European Union), with kind support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia, Institute of the Translation of Hebrew Literature, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, the Scottish Arts Council and Wales Arts International.

www.britishcouncil.org/creativecollaboration

Press Contacts for Word Express:
Alexandra Büchler / Esther Prydderch, Literature Across Frontiers (UK) alexandra@lit-across-frontiers.org / esther@walesliterature.org      www.lit-across-frontiers.org
Zerrin Yilmaz
, Delta Publishing (Turkey) zerrinyilmaz@gmail.com

Press Contact for Creative Collaborations:
Aida Berxholi
/ Clare Sears, British Council, Albania     Aida.Berxholi@britishcouncil.org / Clare.Sears@britishcouncil.org


News

'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.

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Cosmin Borza discusses the work of Romania's 'Generation 2000' poets, including Radu Vancu and Claudiu Komartin in an essay at Asymptote.

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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.

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