During 2021, because of the pandemics, only two literary festivals took place within the framework of READ. This year, four of the partner organizations carried out their own festivals, while the fifth one is in the process.


Thus, in May 13th – May 15th, Qendra Multimedia organized in Prishtina polip International Literature Festival, already a consolidated activity, started in 2010. This year the topic was The Writer is Present!/?, referring to the situation and the commitment of the writer. “What happens with literature in the conditions of global war threat, nuclear catastrophe, continuing pandemic, ecological disaster?” “Which literary strategies can authors use today if they decide to talk about here and now?” “Are contemporary writers present at all in the articulation of response to unprecedented crisis, that is no longer of a regional character, but is a matter of concern for every living being on this planet?” These were some of the issues discussed in the panels the festival, intertwined with readings of the invited authors.


In June, from 6th to 10th, Kalem Culture Association organized ITEF – Istanbul International Literature Festival. It is the the forteenth edition of the first international literary festival in Turkey focusing on a variety of genres, and bringing together writers, publishers, literary translators, critics and journalists for a series of inspirational encounters. The topic of this edition was Literature of Love, based on the aspect of literature that describes the love one feels for people, society, nature, plants, animals, or the country – all kinds of love.


The same month, one week later, the fourteenth edition of the KROKODIL Festival under the title The Year of Magical Thinking has been held in Belgrade during three days and evenings in June (from 17 to 19 June 2022), as well as in Novi Sad (on 23 and 24 June) under the title On the Margins as part of the programme arc Fortress of Peace of the European Capital of Culture Novi Sad 2022. It had a special focus on youth. It has featured readings, discussions, sofa interviews, musical and stage performances, programs for children and youth, meetings with journalists and audiences, book signings, forums, debates, promotions, online discussions, video projections and conferences. The title of this edition points “towards the collective, global, extremely complex trauma the population of planet Earth is facing today”, as it is said in the introductory text by the director of the festival, the wellnkown Serbian writer Vladimir Arsenijevic.


In October, from 5th to 7th, the International Youth Literary Festival “Tirana Gate” was performed in the capital of Albania for the second year. Its topic and title for this year was Neighbours, in the sense of the Otherness and Proximity at the same time, with panel discussions and literary readings. Meanwhile, the discussions were expanded through a large spectrum of subjects, such as identities and multucultural context, Balkans and Europe, collective memory and confrontation with the past, the importance of intercultural  communication and the role of literary translation, etc. And a special section, Stop War, was dedicated to the voice of Ukraine, with partcipation of Ukranian authors.


Significantly, and understandingly, these festivals were like communicating vessels.


The festival Watch through will be organised by LOJA Center of Balkan Cooperation later this year in Tetovo and Skopje. We are planning to open a special space for it in the next issue of The Bridge.