23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Lindita Arapi
© Hartwig Klappert

Lindita Arapi

Lindita Arapi was born in Lushnja in Central Albania in 1972. She studied Literary Science in the capital Tirana, and was then employed as a journalist and anchorwoman by Albanien Television. Later, she took up her studies of German Language and Literature, English Language and Literature, and Pedagogy in Cologne. At the University of Vienna, she studied Publishing and wrote her doctor’s thesis. In 1996 she was granted a writer’s scholarship by the Heinrich Boell Foundation and was an Honorary Fellow in Writing at the University of Iowa in the same year.

Her dissertation from 2001, »Wie Albanien albanisch wurde: Rekonstruktionen eines Albanienbildes« (tr.: How Albania became Albanian) appeared as a book in 2005. In it, Arapi studies the stereotypes that have existed in German-speaking regions concerning Albania since the 19th century. Arapi is convinced that the prejudices of today are the result of the travelogues of European authors, and she explains the political and historical dimension of these literary testimonies. Arapi is one of the most important Albanian writers of her generation. Together with Rudian Zektji, Ervin Hatibi and Agron Tufa she forms part of a circle of the literary avant-garde, which formed in the early 1990s in the context of the magazine »E për-7-shme«. In an interview with »transcript« she said about those years: »Somehow, we re-discovered the language, and were in love with blaring metaphors. Some were too hermetic or cryptic, sometimes we wrote dark verses that looked like our souls. Full of sadness.« Arapi has published three books of poetry in Albanian so far. Her debut »Kufomë lulesh« (1993; tr.: A flower’s dead body) was also translated into Italian and received the First Prize of the »Puglia Albania« Competition. This was followed by the collections »Ndodhi në shpirt« (1995; tr.: It happened in my soul) and »Melodi të heshtjes« (1998; tr.: Melody of silence). Her poems, short stories and essays have been published by international magazines and anthologies. In 2007 she presented her collection of poems »Am Meer, nachts« (tr.: At the sea, at night) as a hand press print product. Arapi’s poetry focuses on existential themes. Often impregnated by a sense of alienation, her lyrical alter ego embarks on a quest for her own identity and new poetical images, which are sometimes subtle, sometimes elegies, and never shy away from linguistic experiments in free verse. In her novel »Vajzat me çelës në qafë« (2010; tr.: Latchkey girl) she tells a family story, which is inseparably bound up with the historical development of Albania – from Communist dictatorship until present times.

Lindita Arapi is also a translator and a freelance editor at Deutsche Welle. Her reports mostly deal with cultural and political events in the Balkan region. The author lives in Bonn.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin


Wie Albanien albanisch wurde
Rekonstruktionen eines Albanienbildes
Marburg, 2005

Am Meer, nachts
Edition Thanhäuser
Ottensheim, 2007
[Ü: Hans-Joachim Lanksch]

Berlin, 2012
[Ü: Joachim Röhm]