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Tanja Bakić from Montenegro: Recipient of CEI Fellowship for Writers in Residence 2016

Tanja Bakić, born in 1981, is a Montenegrin poet, literary scholar and translator who writes on music. She graduated with an MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Montenegro. She is a member of Bloomsbury, one of the UK’s leading publishing houses. She was a speaker at the William Blake Colloquium at the world-renowned Tate Britain gallery in London, where she also held a poetry performance. A recipient of the Modern Humanities Research Association grant, she has been featured in the line-ups at various international festivals, named artist-in-residence in several countries, and selected twice by an international jury of art critics as the Montenegrin representative at the art biennial of Europe and the Mediterranean – in Ancona in 2013 and in Milan in 2015.

She has contributed with an aural component to a plant installation by the Australian eco-designer Tanja Beer that was presented by Arts House (Melbourne) in partnership with Cambridge Junction, UK. She is responsible for the Montenegrin component of the world poetry festival ‘Palabra en el Mundo’ (co-founder of the World Poetry Movement, initiated in Cuba, Chile and Argentina). Her music-related bestselling non-fiction work, Voodoo Child: Priča o Jimiju Hendrixu (Voodoo Child: A Story About Jimi Hendrix, 2013) – revealing her collaboration with Hendrix’s former London-based girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, his sound engineer Roger Mayer, and with Bojan Z., the world renown jazz musician – was the most talked-about book of the year in Montenegro.
From the committee:
In her new work “Lost Memories,” the young Montenegrin author Tanja Bakić turns to a rather rare literary form these days: the epistolary novel. Her choice of form has earned her additional attention. The novel consists of letters written by women from Montenegro and the Czech Republic –  countries that on the face of things have nothing more in common than a few formal historical postulates – and the work stokes up our imagination even before we have begun to discover these women’s lives, even before we, as readers, meet with their memories. We imagine that these women share much more than a common history of socialism and that their countries were born around the same time. Bakić underlines she is also interested in the entirely concrete “lost memories” that she will reveal also through the examination of the single environments. We readers, meanwhile, will surely be curious to learn whether these letters consist more of forgetting than of memories. What do the women want to remember in their correspondence? And what do they want to forget? The question is of course this: why? What propels them? Is it more than just time and the personal desire to forget that influences their lost memories? How much of their memory must indeed be “lost”? It is, after all, well known that a person can lose everything, except their memory. And yet, that is unfortunately only a partial truth. But even lost memories are part of our personal history.
The awarding ceremony will take place during the Offical Opening of the 31st International Literary Festival Vilenica on 7 September, at 6.30 pm, at Sežana, Kosovel Cultural Centre.
  • Full press release (SLO/ENG) available here
*** The CEI has been presenting the CEI Fellowship for Writers in Residence in collaboration with the Slovene Writers’ Association, as part of the International Literary Festival Vilenica since 2006. The Fellowship seeks to encourage cross-border cooperation and promotion in the field of literature for young writers from non-EU CEI Member States. The Fellowship, which is endowed with a cash award of 5,000 EUR, is intended to be used for a three-month residence in any CEI Member State of the candidate’s choice. During this period the author is expected to work on the project indicated in the application form.



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