A digital meeting of the participants of the first year of the Ulysses’ Shelter residency exchange programme was held by Literature Across Frontiers on Microsoft Teams. The meeting was an opportunity for the writers selected to participate in the programme from Wales and the writers scheduled to visit Wales to meet and share their work.
From Wales, the participants for 2020 were Lloyd Markham, Eluned Gramich, Grug Muse and Steven Hitchins. The writers scheduled to visit Wales are Maša Seničić (Serbia), author Davorin Lenko (Croatia), Mariana Papaoiannou (Greece), Maja Ručević (Croatia), Katja Zakrajšek (Slovenia), and Nataša Srdić (Serbia).
More about the participating writers for 2020:
Eluned Gramich (1989) is a German-Welsh writer and translator. She lived in Japan and Germany for several years before returning to Wales to pursue her Creative Writing PhD at Aberystwyth University. Her memoir about Hokkaido, Woman Who Brings the Rain (2015), won the New Welsh Writing Awards, was shortlisted for a Wales Book of the Year Award and selected for international promotion by Wales Literature Exchange in 2016. Her stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including Rarebit: New Welsh Fiction (Parthian, 2014), New Welsh Short Stories (Seren, 2015), and anthology of young Welsh and European authors Zero Hours on the Boulevard: Tales of Independence and Belonging (Parthian, 2019). Her non-fiction writing in English has been published in Wales Arts Review, New Welsh Review, and World Literature Online, and her writing in Welsh in O’r Pedwar Gwynt. Her translation of a short story collection by the Swiss author Monique Schwitter was published as Goldfish Memory (Parthian, 2015).
This will be a series of autofictional essays exploring the process of how language contracts the self, and of language learning, linking this to broader concerns about British monolingualism, the status of minority languages, and fears around ‘foreign’ tongues. The residency will allow her to explore the complexities of European cultural and linguistic identities in Slovenia where her first residency will be in Ljubljana in May 2020.
- Watch Eluned’s contribution for the Slovene Book Days festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dxKeVK41AU
Steven Hitchins is a poet from the South Wales Valleys. He studied at Aberystwyth University and has a PhD in English and Creative Writing. His poetry and articles have appeared in Poetry Wales, New Welsh Review, Junction Box and Wales Arts Review, and he has performed at the Hay Poetry Jamboree in Hay-on-Wye, Poets Live in Paris, the Bath Arts Fringe Festival and the North Wales International Poetry Festival. Through publications such as Bitch Dust (Hafan 2012), The White City (Aquifer 2015) and Ilan (Stranger Press 2018), he has been conducting a mobile, non-linear mapping of the South Wales coalfield, using cut-up techniques and psychogeographical dérives to excavate industrial wounds and geological layerings along the invisible routes of the deleted canals. His work is often collaborative and performance-driven, as his Canalchemy project stages performances of poetry along the deleted Glamorganshire canal. With his small press, The Literary Pocket Book, he publishes innovative poetry and experimental prose with an interest in slow, tactile media and unusual book formats, book-folds and book-objects.
His poetry projects often involve digital media and devices, for instance audio recordings, which he uses to interrogate notions of locality.
During his residency, he will be working on a poetry project exploring the idea of place as data. The project will make use of algorithms as collage/cut-up procedures in his poetry to explore the increasing implications of algorithms in our lived spaces today.
Davorin Lenko (1984) is a Slovenian author of short stories, poems, essays and novels. In 2014, he received the Kresnik Award for the best novel of the year for Telesa v temi [Bodies in the Dark] as well as the Critic’s Choice Award. The novel is available in German from the Slovene Writers’ Association. His 2016 collection of short stories Postopoma zapuščati Misantropolis [Slowly Leaving Misanthropolis] was nominated for the award Novo Mesto Short. His second novel, Bela pritlikavka [White Dwarf], was published in 2017. In the spring of 2019, his monodrama Psiho [Psycho] was staged in Ljubljana to critical acclaim. Lenko is currently writing a novel entitled Cona [Zone] and a collection of short prose entitled Psihoporn [Psychoporn] that will be published by the Cankar publishing house in 2020. He is a full-time writer.
- Here is an interview with Davorin during his residency in Belgrade: http://tovar.hr/us_item.php?t_id=143&j=2&kat=2
Lloyd Markham (1988) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and spent his childhood in Zimbabwe, before moving to and settling in Bridgend, South Wales, where he still lives. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from Glamorgan University (now University of South Wales), followed by an MPhil. His debut novel Bad Ideas / Chemicals (Parthian Books, 2017) won a Betty Trask Award, was short-listed for Wales Book of the Year and selected by Wales Literature Exchange for international promotion. ‘Mercy’ was included in the anthology of young Welsh and European authors Zero Hours on the Boulevard: Tales of Independence and Belonging (Parthian Books, 2019). In 2019, he received a bursary from Literature Wales to work on his second book, provisionally titled Fox Bites. During his residential stay, he will be working on a collection of science fiction magical realist short stories themed around work, belonging, and environmental change.
- Watch Lloyd’s contribution to the Slovene Book Days 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b72S-8jH8Y
Grug Muse (1993) is a poet, editor, performer and researcher from the Nantlle Valley in North Wales, who studied Politics at the University of Nottingham and in the Czech Republic. She is one of the editors and founders of Y Stamp literary magazine, and is the author of Ar Ddisberod, her first volume of poetry published in 2017 and a poetry pamphlet Llanw + Gorwel (2019). Her work is published in both Welsh and English language publications such as O’r Pedwar Gwynt, Poetry Wales, Panorama: the journal of intelligent travel, and in anthologies such as When they start to love you as a machine you should run (New River Press, 2019), Cheval 11 (Parthian, 2018) and Cyfrol Gŵyl y Ferch (Gŵyl y Ferch, 2019), and she works across many art forms – prose, poetry and performance to name a few. She was a Hay writer at work 2018-19 and is currently working on a PhD on Welsh travel writing written about Latin America, funded by the AHRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Celtic Studies. During her residential stay, she will be working on a series of literary essays and vignettes meditating on the nature of observing and the observed and photography; this will be a change from the writer’s usual style, which is usually with shorter forms; place is a key aspect of the project, and the residency would develop this content, as well as being an opportunity for her to complete a draft of the work. Her first residency was on the island of Mljet (Croatia) in March 2020 and was cut short given the escalating Covid-19 developments.
- Interview with Grug during her time in Mljet: http://tovar.hr/us_item.php?t_id=141&j=2&kat=2
- Read Grug’s blog “Notes from Isolation” for Sandorf: http://tovar.hr/us_item.php?t_id=147&j=2&kat=6
Maja Ručević (1983, Zagreb) graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb with majors in Croatian and French. She works as a journalist and translator and is the winner of two poetry prizes. Her debut novel Je suis Jednoruki (Algoritam, 2016) was short-listed for several awards. Her work has been published online and in literary magazines. She is currently working on a new work of fiction. Her translations from French into Croatian include Adeline Dieudonné’s novel La vraie vie (Stvarni život), Laetitia Colombani’s novel La tresse (Pletenica), and Gilles Legardinier’s Completement cramé (Potpuno spaljen), all published by Znanje press. During her time at the Ulysses residencies, she will be mainly working on translating a new novel, as well as writing a short story collection.
- Watch this interview with Maja in Belgrade: http://tovar.hr/us_item.php?t_id=139&j=2&kat=2
Maša Seničić (1990) is a poet, a scriptwriter, and a journalist. She graduated at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade (bachelor and MA degree) and she is currently pursuing both theoretical and artistic research in film and media theory as a PhD student (FDA, Belgrade). She currently works at the Faculty as a research assistant (Film History, Film Theory) and as a content creator, a writer, a journalist, editor-in-chief of online magazine Before/After and culture editor of MILICA magazine.
Seničić has collaborated on various local and international projects, primarily in film (as an author and contributor), but also in theater and on the radio. In 2015 Seničić won the Mladi Dis prize for the unpublished manuscript of her first poetry book entitled “The Ocean” (“Okean”), whereas her literary work has been published in numerous regional magazines (Poezija, Polja, Letopis Matice srpske, Zent, Prosvjeta, Dometi) and anthologies (Rukopisi, Dostojno jest, Ovo nije dom, Čiji grad?) and online magazines (Agon, Eckermann, Libela, Strane, Kritična masa…). Her second poetry book “As Occasional as a Vacation Home” (“Povremena poput vikend-naselja”) has been awarded at the “Trgni se! Poezija!” [“Snap Out! Poetry!] festival, and was published by Treći Trg in 2019. She has taken part in different international projects and interdisciplinary workshops (some of them are Kenneth Goldsmith’s “Wasting Time on the Internet” and Jaka Železnikar’s “The Smell of Internet Poetry”). She is now working on a few independent publications which explore the boundaries of both printed and digital text and material.
Nataša Srdić (née Miljković) was born in Smederevo, Serbia, in 1984. She graduated from the Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, where she also defended her doctoral dissertation Scientific and Artistic Truth in John Banville’s Fiction. She is a literary translator from Serbian into English and vice versa. So far, she has translated more than a dozen books. She also runs literary translation workshops in Belgrade. She lives in Kikinda, Serbia, with her husband and daughter.
Marilena Papaioannou was born in 1982 in Athens, where she grew up. She studied Molecular Biology and Genetics in Alexandroupolis and wrote her thesis in Geneva. Afterwards, she worked as a researcher in New York, until 2013 when she returned to Greece, where she has been editing and translating biology textbooks, pop science books, and scientific articles.
In 2013, she published her first novel, Nikitas Delta (Estia Bookstore Publishing). The book was nominated for the State Award for First-Time Author and the Anagnostis Magazine Award for First-Time Author. She also received the Klepsidra/Enastron Award for Best Young Author from the literary magazine “Klepsidra”, along with Yannis Asteris.
In 2016, she published her second book, the novella “Kateveni o Kamouzas stous fournous” (Kamouzas Coming at the Furnace), which was nominated for the Anagnostis Magazine Award for Best Novella in 2017 and the Klepsidra Award for Best Young Author the same year.
She is currently looking for a publisher for her third book, the novel “To nou sou ston Meli” (Keep Melis in Mind), while gathering material for her next work. She writes small articles for Yustra magazine, where she explains basic biological phenomena.
Katja Zakrajšek studied comparative literature and is a literary translator. She especially enjoys exploring less translated literary traditions and spaces. She translates from French, English, and Portuguese. She feels most at home with contemporary writing, although occasionally translates old classics (such as Machado de Assis, The Psychiatrist and Other Stories). Her translations wander from France (Marie Ndiaye, Ladivine) to Senegal (Ken Bugul, Riwan), Congo (Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Tram 83) to Mauritius and back to France (Nathacha Appanah, Tropic of Violence); from the United States (Monique Truong, The Book of Salt, for the translation of which she won the Radojka Vrančič Award in 2008) to Brazil (Cristóvão Tezza, The Eternal Son, Adriana Lisboa, Symphony in White) to Great Britain (Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Economy and the Future) to young adult literature (Clémentine Beauvais, Piglettes). Outside of the literary world, she has recently been moving between Ljubljana, where she lives, and translation residencies from which she brings home too many ideas and desires for new translations.