In October 2009, three separate groups set out simultaneously from Ljubljana, Bucharest and Sarajevo. At every stop, they were welcomed by local young writers and took part in readings and workshops. They explored the city and were joined by their hosts to board the train for the next stop, finally converging in Thessaloníki from where the three groups took the final train journey to Istanbul. Here the authors took part in the Istanbul Book Fair and the inaugral Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival
In October 2010, following a summer of festival appearances across Europe, Word Express authors took part in festivals and readings in Belgrade, Skopje, the Sha’ar Poetry Festival in Tel Aviv.
One year on, Word Express also returned to Istanbul. Literature Across Frontiers and Delta Publishing once again brought a new crop of young literary talent from South East Europe and beyond to the Turkish capital of culture. With events taking place all over Istanbul, including the second Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival and the Istanbul Book Fair (TUYAP), from the 29 th of October to the 2 nd of November, Istanbul was alive with story, poetry and language marking its year in the limelight as the 2010 European Capital of Culture.
Over 28 Word Express writers and translators used this opportunity to forge new connections and cultural exchanges and bring their distinct voices to new audiences:
Elizabeta Bakovska (Macedonia), Augustin Cupsa(Romania), Christos Chrissopoulos (Greece), Sian Melagell Dafydd (UK/Wales), Milan Dobričić (Serbia), Jasmina Topić (Serbia), Kamelia Spassova (Bulgaria), Katerina Iliopoulou (Greece), Yiannis Isidorou (Greece), Jovica Ivanovski (Macedonia), Harut Kbeyan(Armenia), Sladan Lipovec (Croatia), Roman Simi ć(Croatia), Alex Epstein (Israel), Faruk Šehić (Bosnia), Zaza Koshkadze (Georgia), Ryan van Winkle (US/Scotland), Radu Vancu (Romania), Anat Zecharia (Israel) and Ursula Sterle (Slovenia)
These authors and translators were joined by their Turkish hosts, writers: Gokçenur Ç, Nurduran Duman, Efe Duyan, Barış Müstecaplıoğlu, Yaprak Öz, Önur Caymaz, Mehmet Altun, Onur Behramoğlu and Pelin Özer .
'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.