Michelle Green on a Zagreb tram, photo by Nuala Ní Chonchúir

Tramlines is a new writers’ residency project connecting European cities with a tram system. Each participating author will explore the city by tram and write a short story in response to the experience and encounters along the way. The project will result in new collaborative work which discovers the hidden corners and everyday life of each city, engages with local communities and commuters, and promotes the idea of alternative urban tourism using public transport. Ultimately an alternative literary guide to each city will be created in the form of a digital application for smartphone offering a new perspective on landscapes, both familiar and unknown.

Tramlines takes place in Barcelona, Brussels, Istanbul, Manchester, Prague, Riga and Zagreb with the Egyptian city of Alexandria included in the European mix. It follows on from several international projects with longer and shorter writers’ residencies such as Sealines, Word Express and the Cross-border Art & Conflict project.

The project runs from April 2012 to April 2013. Each visiting writer will spend a week in the city about which he or she will be writing. The residencies will often take place around the time of festivals in the city. So far in 2012 the Manchester-based writer Michelle Green has been in residence in Zagreb at the same time as the Festival of the European Short Story (read her thoughts so far on her website ).
In August 2012 the exchange continued with Roman Simić visiting Manchester from Zagreb and Inga Zolude from Riga in residence in Passa Porta literature house in Brussels. More Tramlines residencies and events were announced in September with Jana Šrámková from Prague visiting Istanbul, Barcelona based Francesc Serés exploring Alexandria and Hande Altayli from Istanbul in residence in Prague. Also participating will be  Eman Abdelhamid from Alexandria and Koen Peeters from Brussels.

With the view of creating a multi-media piece, each writer is paired with a media artist who will act as host and guide. The result will be a prose text with a visual or audio/visual element coming from the artist. These collaborations be available for readers to download as a smartphone application which is being produced as part of the project.

The project is coordinated by Literature Across Frontiers in cooperation with Comma Press (UK), and locally by the following partner organisations:
Gudran Association for Art and Development and El Cabina venue (Alexandria)
Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Culture (Barcelona)
Passa Porta House and Passa Porta Festival (Brussels)
Latvian Literature Centre and Prose Readings Festival (Riga)
FRA Bookstore and Cafe and Literary Academy (Prague)
Croatian Writers Association and Festival of European Short Story (Zagreb)
Kalem Culture and Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival (Istanbul)
Comma Press and Manchester International Literature Festival (Manchester)