Anilda Ibrahimi

Portrait Anilda Ibrahimi
© Hartwig Klappert

Anilda Ibrahimi was born in Vlora, a harbour city in communist Albania, in 1972. She studied Modern Literature in Tirana and worked for numerous radio and television stations as well as daily newspapers. In 1994, she left her country to travel around Europe. Her first stop was Switzerland, where she wrote for a Kosovar exile newspaper and published her first collection of poetry »Cristallo di tristezza« (1996; tr: Crystals of Sadness). She went to Italy in 1997, continued to work as a journalist and was an advisor to the Italian refugee council. In 2008, she published her first novel, »Rosso come una sposa« (tr: Red like a Bride), about several generations of a southern Albanian family in the 20th century. Like a bright mosaic, the fates of the men and women connect in the little mountain village of Kaltra, where it smells like raki and quince, like Turkish coffee and recently harvested wheat. It is the simple and archaic life of her childhood that Anilda Ibrahimi writes about, the things that she knows best and, above all, the women who moulded her. With her novel, she not only wants to erect a memorial to these women, she also wants to counter the stereotypical image of Albanian women. It is a stereotype that she encounters again and again and one that fills her with bitterness. She creates a »feminine universe« of women in Albania and describes how it transforms over generations. She wants to afford her readers a different, novel perspective on her home, one that is not limited to folklore. Anilda Ibrahimi writes in a clear, ironic style that lets her aversion to »metaphysical monologue« be known. For the language of her novels she has chosen Italian. She has lost her ear for her mother tongue, she says. The audience she has in mind for her books are Italians, even though many of expressions used in her work show a strong affinity to her native language. However, she resists the label of »immigrant author.«

»Rosso come una sposa« has been awarded many prizes including the Premio Edoardo Kihlgren − Città di Milano, the Premio Corrado Alvaro, the Premio Città di Penne and the Premio Giuseppe Antonio Arena e La Magna Capitana. Ibrahimi’s second novel »L’amore e gli stracci del tempo« (tr: Love and the Rags of Time) was published in 2009. The author and her family live in Rome.