Word Express is a project for literary exchange in South-East Europe, organised by the UK-based Literature Across Frontiers in cooperation with Delta Publishing in Istanbul, Profil Books in Zagreb, Helicon in Tel Aviv and the National Book Centre in Bucharest and other partners based in twelve countries in the region. The project is 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. 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.
In October 2009, twenty of these writers writers and translators formed three groups taking train journeys through the Balkans to Istanbul, stopping in different cities and taking part in readings, debates and translation workshops. At the journey's end they spent five days in Istanbul taking part in the Istanbul Book Fair and in the new Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival, as well as reading and debating in other venues.
'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.