Ivana Trajanoska is a writer, translator, literature researcher, and Associate Professor at University American College Skopje, North
Macedonia. Her research is mainly focused on interdisciplinary studies in literature and language, particularly early twentieth-century English literature, art and music, but also intercultural communication. She has published short fiction in Macedonian and English in literary magazines and two novels in Macedonian. She has won the Silver Pegasus Prize for Best Fiction Manuscript (2020) and was short listed in the National Award Novel of the Year (2021).


  1. The societal and the cultural surrounding have been very important for my creative activity. I was born in 1981 in Skopje, the capital of what was then Socialist Republic of Macedonia, a federal unit of Yugoslavia, and now capital of Republic of North Macedonia. The political, the societal, and the cultural changes which have occurred over the years influenced my life and my development as a person and thus, inevitably, my creative activity as well. I have been for long captivated by Virginia Wolf’s “As a woman, I have no country. As I woman, I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world”. Still, although I spent a part of my life abroad, I never imagined leaving my country behind for good.Through my creative and professional activities I have strived, enthusiastically and diligently, to contribute to the development of my country and I have never regretted my choice, no matter how hard sometimes is due to various reasons. However, when I refer to the cultural surroundings, I don’t only mean ethnicity or nationality. I understand culture as a set of various patterns of behaviours, interactions, cognitive constructs, affective understanding and responses that we have learned, and consciously and unconsciously adopted through our lives in the process of socialization. All these patterns have affected me and my writing, and all my creative, professional, and private activities, as a writer, translator, professor, mother, wife, friend, sister, and daughter. I still feel the conflict between the universality of being a human and the locality of being a member of a community, and many different communities. But perhaps, that is the driving force behind my activities. Perhaps, that is also why I write.


  1. As a writer, the most important thing for me is to examine and write about the person, the human being, particularly women and their experiences. In my work I explore women’s relationships with themselves, with their families, with other women and men, with their partners, husbands, lovers, children, mothers, fathers… It is inevitable for me, and very important, to inquire as well into the relationships of people within their cultural contexts and the society they live in, come from, move into etc. I am intrigued by the ways people develop tools and means to dwell in a particular environment, how the cultural contexts shape people’s opinions, values, norms and understanding of the world and themselves, and how women have this incredible synthetic power to create worlds regardless of the circumstances. I’m intrigued by the challenges of interpersonal and intercultural communication, of the conscious and unconscious process of the construction of the Self and the Other, through the legends, myths, histories, and stories which shape us, define us, contribute to the understanding of ourselves and the others, but also estrange us from oneself and the others, which also limit us and prevent us from exploring, developing, from growing or becoming something different. My characters are deeply rooted in their cultural contexts, but I consciously try to escape ethnocentric tendencies, or tight cultural contexts, and dwell into the human condition. I am also aware that this might seem as a very anthropocentric approach and I admire writers and literary researchers who depart from it and approach the phenomena that surround us and are within us from a different, and much broader angle, as well.


  1. I’m currently doing a writing residency in Tirana through the READ Residency Program. I have visited Albania before but it is the first time for me in Tirana. The city enchants me with its beauty and cultural diversity every day. From what I can see and experience, Tirana is a genuine cradle of interculturalism with a rich cultural life. I’ve met many wonderful and friendly people, poets, writers, translators from various cultural backgrounds with progressive ideas about the future of this part of the world. It is a warm, hospitable, welcoming and vibrant environment full of enthusiasm. I also had the chance to be a part of the literary festival “Tirana Gate 2022”. It was a full-scale, professionally organized literary festival with beautiful readings and insightful panel discussions on various important topics with excellent authors from Albania, Slovenia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine, Turkey etc. I particularly liked the youth in the audience who also had a chance to read their works. It is extremely important for young people to be given opportunities and to feel welcome in these literary and cultural events because it is the only way to ensure continuity and progress. I applaud and deeply thank the Director of the festival Ms. Irena Toçi and the Artistic Director Ms. Milena Selimi for the wonderful festival and the invitation. Tirana has showed itself to be an inspiring cultural centre for me and I’m sure I will come back again soon.


  1. Why do I write? This is a great question. However, it has never been one for me. Nobody in my family is or was a writer but my grandmother and mother were captivating storytellers. My mother also read a lot and I always felt an inexplicable and irresistible allure around the books in our modest home library. Reading provided me space where I can explore myself but also others, other people and other contexts, and examine closely the forces that shape our ways of thinking. In primary school I was encouraged by my Macedonian teacher to write, was included in extracurricular writing classes, participated in readings and writing contests. This stimulated me and emboldened me to write and made me feel that I am perhaps good at it. I kept a journal for eighteen years, very assiduously and regularly. It helped me organize and understand my thoughts and feelings, my experiences, the world around me and within me, the other(s) and the self, and make sense of the world and life. I’m sure it was also a very important writing practice which helped me develop my writing style. I somehow always knew that I will write and was determined to continue writing even when my family and professional life became a priority for me. So, in short, I started writing because I felt an urge to write, continued to write to understand the self, the other, and the world, and I still write for the very same reasons. And of course, because I so deeply enjoy story-telling, and because I strongly believe that the world needs more stories told by women.