polip is an international literature festival that brings together authors from the former Yugoslavia and other European countries. However, polip surpasses the basic premise of a literature festival by far: It's about concepts of trust and a broader understanding of post-conflict peace building in a region with particularly traumatized societies that live separately without trying to work through the past.
The festival would like to position literature as the basis of a reciprocal communication that catalyzes processes of conflict resolution in the region. polip's concept contains elements adapted from trust building activities and conflict prevention strategies, which are aimed at preventing the violent escalation of disputes. Rather than just passively attending the festival, participating authors see themselves as active collaborators in the project.
Aside from readings and discussions, the program features concerts, and workshops in translation as well as poetry. polip takes place in Pristina on an annual basis. It was initiated by Qendra Multimedia, a cultural production firm based in Pristina. Recent editions have been co-organized by Beton, a cultural organization and journal with offices in Belgrade.
2016 Literature in the desert of the real
With countless refugees transiting via the so-called “Balkan Route”, authors from all over Europe considered the role of literature in times of war and humanitarian crises at polip 2016. What is the best way to talk about sensitive topics? What can be done that might give displaced authors a voice again? How can we remind people that it hasn't been that long since Europeans found themselves in the same precarious situation as many of today's refugees?
2015 Let's Talk About Freedom
In light of the terror attack on the Paris office of the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo and growing intolerance in Europe, polip 2015 revolved around freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Authors from all over Europe discussed freedom of speech in their countries and the extent to which political developments influence creative work. Those conversations included feminist perspectives and addressed gender stereotypes in literature.
2014 Surveillance of Literature
polip 2014 spotlighted literary exchange and literary translations. Participants talked about things like problems that arise in collaboration between different cultural scenes rooted in the Balkan region's historical context and translation issues: are the translators skills the most important thing, or does the translator's political stance also play a role? How much does a translator need to know about an author and her or his culture?
2013 Literature of Separated Worlds
polip 2013 focused on courage and personal responsibility in authors. When the Azerbaijani author Akram Aylisli dares to write about friendship with Armenians in his native village and is vilified at all levels of Azerbaijani society afterward s, it shows how very current these issues are. Many authors from the Balkan peninsula are confronted with the same dilemma. Other topics discussed included the potential of literature from the Balkans on the German book market, and the existence of a post-Yugoslavian literature.