CARDINAL POINTS: THE CURRENT ISSUE The International Novi Sad Literature Festival  

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The International Novi Sad Literature Festival, founded, inspired, and directed by the award-winning poet and critic, the ever-enthusiastic Jovan Zivlak, is the biggest and most important festival in Serbia. Its participants have so far included writers from Serbia, England, Ireland, Germany, Bulgaria, Ukraine, USA, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Romania, Sudan, France, Denmark, Nigeria, and Morocco.
Novi Sad, one of the oldest cities in Central Europe, traces back to the 5th century BC and has a long and extremely complex history, which includes Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Hungarians, Ottoman and Habsburg empires, kingdoms of Serbia and Yugoslavia, the 1948/48 revolution, Axis powers, socialist Yugoslavia, Kosovo war of 1999... Today, Novi Sad is the capital of the Province of Vojvodina and the second biggest city in Serbia, with two major universities and a population over 450,000. The Serbian Romanticism started here in mid-19th century. In the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century, Novi Sad was the Serbian cultural capital ("Serbian Athens"), with which the majority of Serbian intelligentsia was associated. The Serbian Romantic movement was at first led by the poet Branko Radicevic, and by Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj and Laza Kostic in the latter years. The objective was to promote the language reform of Vuk Karadzic who had modernized Serbian language and introduced the vernacular Serbian into literature.
The 4th Festival readings represented national literatures, groups of authors, or single authors. Each day culminated with an evening reading on Mladenaca Plaza in the city center, in front of the so-called Poetry Gates. During the Festival, there is a ceremony of awarding the prize to the Young Serbian poet of the Year, traditionally held in Sremski Karlovci, an old historic town near Novi Sad. This year, this prize was awarded to Maja Solar. The International Literary Award of 2009 was given to Sean O'Brien (England). His selection is featured in the poetry section of Vol.1 of this issue.

Karsten Alnaes was born in 1938 in Norway. A former school teacher, Mr. Alnaes is the author of a five-volume history of Norway, as well as textbooks and historical / biographical novels. His work has been translated into many European languages.

Nebojsa Devetak was born in 1955, in Croatia). He is the author of several books of poetry, including the most recent Face to the Reverse, Selected and New Poems (2004) and Wrinkles and Scars (2005), in addition to a book of prose notes on the war in Croatia Scattering the Ashes (1998). He edited An Anthology of Serbian Twentieth-Century Poetry in Croatia (2002) and a collection of poems on migrations, exile and displacement, called Roads Are Our Homeland (2006). He currently lives in Vrbas (Vojvodina). Mr. Dvetak has won the Golden String of the Smederevo Poets' Autumn, the Seal of Sremski Karlovci City, the Rakic, Zmaj and other prizes.

Irina Mashinski is a bilingual poet and translator, the author of seven books of poetry and Storony Sveta (Cardinal Points) co-editor. Her work ha been translated into Serbian, Italian, English, and French languages. It is regularly featured in literary periodicals and anthologies in Russia and abroad. Her most recent Russian books of poems, Volk (Wolf, Selected Poems) and Raznochinets and Other Poems came out in 2009 in Moscow and New York. She holds a Master of Science from Moscow University and a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from New England College. In the US, she has taught Mathematics, Science, Meteorology, Russian History, and The History of European Culture in high schools and universities.

Dusko Novakovic (born in 1948) is the author of several collections of poetry, including the most recent Cinema Lumiere (2007), Silly and his Educator (2007) and Benches of Unrewarded (2008). He is the recipient of the prestigious Vasko Popa award.

Jean Portante was born in Differdange (Luxembourg) in 1950. He has written novels, essays, plays and poetry, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. In 2003, his book L'Etrange Langue was given the famous Mallarmé award in France, and the same year Portante received the Grand Prix d'Automne de la Société des Gens de Lettres in France, marking his lifetime achievement . He is the director of the " Graphiti " series of international poetry in Luxembourg.

Wolfgang Ratz was born in 1959 in Bilbao (Spain). He is a poet, singer-songwriter, translator in Vienna (Austria) and Cali (Colombia). His awards include PEN Club Liechtenstein (1991) and Feile Filíochta (2007). His publications are: "Zimt & Metall" (poems in German, 2002) ,"El Idioma de las Hormigas" (poems in Spanish and German, 2004), "Hoja Rota" (poems in Spanish and German, with J.Tafur, 2007). He is the editor and translator of "Poesía Entre Dos Mundos" (Spanish/German, 2004).

Milisav Savic (b. 1945, Serbia) is the author of four books, short stories, and six novels. He has also been the editor and translator of several anthologies of foreign literature into Serbian (American, Australian, and Italian). He has taught Serbo-Croatian at London University, SUNY (Albany), and the University of Florence.

Almazan Slavko was born in 1940 in Oresac, Serbia. He studied literature at Novi Sad University. Mr. Almazan worked as an editor on Novi Sad radio and TV, as well as at the Lumina magazine and the Libertatea publishing company. His work has been translated into many languages and has won numerous literary awards in Serbia and Romania. Slavko Almazan lives in Serbia. Annemette Kure Andersen was born in Denmark in 1962. She is the author of eight poetry collections and one collection of short stories. Her work has been translated into eleven languages. She is the first female editor of Hvedekorn (Wheatgrains) and a recipient of several Danish literary awards, such as Suhr, Edith Rode and Hulda Lütkens prizes, as well as the grant from the Danish Ministry of Culture.

Maja Solar (born in 1980) is a poet, writer, philosopher, performer, and feminist. She graduated with a degree in philosophy (University of Novi Sad) and works as a teacher of Logic and Philosophy of Nature. She is a member of the poetry-political theatre Poetic Holes and is on the editorial board at the Polja literary magazine. She has recently received the Branko's award for her first book of poetry, Makulalalalatura.

A member of the PEN Club, Michael Speier is a poet, translator, and literary scholar who lives in Berlin. He taught at universities in Germany and in the USA. In addition to having published a number of anthologies and translated modern English, French, and Italian poetry, he is the founding editor of Park. Zeitschrift fur neue Literatur and the Paul-Celan-Jahrbuch. His own lyric poetry has appeared in eight volumes and over 40 anthologies and has been translated into twelve languages. In 2007 he received the Schiller Award.

Vladimir Tasic was born in 1965 in Novi Sad. He obtained his BA in Mathematics in Novi Sad in 1988. He earned his doctoral degree at the University of Manitoba (Canada) in 1992. Since 1995, he has been professor at the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton, Canada). He has published two volumes of short stories, Pseudologia Fantastica and Radost Brodlomnika, and two novels: Oprostajni Dar (The Farewell Gift) and Kisa i Hartija (Rain and Paper). The Farewell Gift was voted Book of the Year for 2001 by the panel of Radio Belgrade 2. The volume of short stories Radost Brodolomnika has been translated into English as Herbarium of Souls (1998). The Farewell Gift has been published in French, Slovakian, Macedonian and German. Rain and Paper received the NIN and Vital prizes for the Novel of the Year in 2004. It has been translated into French and Macedonian. Tasic's monograph Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought was published in English and Spanish in 2001; it appeared in Serbian in 2002, while the Chinese edition appeared in 2005. Tasic also published a book of essays, Njuskaci Jabuka (The Apple Sniffers) in 2004, as well as the novel The Glass Wall in 2008.

Stevan Tontic was born in 1946 near Sanski Most, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He graduated from the University of Sarajevo, majoring in Philosophy. From 1993 to 2001 he was in exile in Germany, and in 2001 he returned to Sarajevo. He is a poet, prose writer, essayist, translator (from German), and editor. His most recent books include Sarajevski rukopis (Sarajevo Manuscript, 1993 and 1998), Blagoslov izgnanstva (Blessings of Exile, 2001) and Sveto i prokleto (Holiness and damnation, 2009). Tontic is the author of the novel Tvoje srce, zeko (Your Heart, Bunny, 1998) and the editor of two poetry anthologies. His work has been translated into several languages. Stevan Tontic is a recipient of the Bavarian Fine Arts Academy and City of Heidelberg "Literatur im Exil" literary awards.

Oleg Woolf was born in 1954 in Moldova and studied physics at St.Petersburg University. He is the author of the book of prose The Bessarabian Stamps (2010) and a collection of prose and poetry We'll see Sosnov in Spring (2010). His works have regularly been featured in literary periodicals and anthologies in Russia and abroad. He is the editor-in-chief of the Storony Sveta (Cardinal Points).

Jovan Zivlak, an award-winning poet, essayist and literary critic, was born in Voivodina, Serbia in 1947 and graduated from the Novi Sad University where he currently teaches Serbian language and literature. Zivlak is the president of the Writers' Association of Vojvodina, the editor-in-chief of the Polja magazine, and the head of the Svetovi publishing house, as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of the Zlatna Greda (Golden Beam) literary magazine. In 2005, Jovan Zivlak founded the International Novi Sad Literary Festival, where he serves as the director. Mr.Zivlak's work has been translated into English, Italian, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and many other languages, and is featured in numerous anthologies of Serbian poetry in Serbia and abroad. The most recent books by Jovan Zivlak include Ostrvo (The Island, 2001) and Pesme (Poems 1979 - 2005, 2006) and the collection of essays Secanje i Senke (Remembrance and Shadows, 2007).

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