Albanian and Turkish writers win Balkanika awards at Skopje ceremony

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Bashkim Shehu of Albania scooped the 2015 Balkanika literary award for his book The Game, the Fall of the Sky, while the 2016 Balkanika award was presented to Turkish writer Murat Özyaşar for his work on Dark Humor.

The recipients were singled out this past weekend in Skopje during several sessions of an international seven-member jury, chaired by US professor Andrew Wachtel. The jury was comprised of literary critics from seven Balkan countries, including Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, Greece, Turkey and Romania.

Invisible Loves by Vladimir Jankovski vied for the 2015 Balkanika representing Macedonia. Lidija Dimkovska’s No-Oui was shortlisted as a Macedonian candidate for the 2016 Balkanika award.

The jury said it had been difficult for them to pick the winner, because all books had been characterized with a high-level professionalism.

Founded in 1996, Foundation Balkanika includes publishing houses from seven countries in the Balkans: Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, Greece, Turkey and Romania. The foundation is seated in Sofia.

This year’s awards ceremony was held at the Youth Cultural Center in Skopje.

Previous recipients of the Balkanika award from Macedonia include Venko Andonovski (Navel of the World) and Aleksandar Prokopiev (Homunculus).