What is Europe? How can we imagine Europe as more than slogans? To explore these questions, Strasbourg and its university, laboratories of the European experience, offer a European literature residency program for thinkers and creative artists to express themselves, on trajectories that venture beyond borders.
Every autumn, the University of Strasbourg and partners host a writer in residency who gives a series of conferences at the National University Library (BNU) about the cultural challenges facing Europe, offers creative writing workshops and discussions, and sponsors the Louise Weiss prize, an annual trilingual writing competition for students.
Good to know
Offered by the Faculty of Languages and the Faculty of Letters of the University of Strasbourg, and the National University Library of Strasbourg, Writing Europe - Louise Weiss Prize is sponsored by the University Service for Cultural Action with the support of the Drac Grand Est, the Fondation Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg, in collaboration with the University Library Service.
In 2022, for the first time, the Writing Europe-Louise Weiss prize program hosts a dual writers residency, for Ukrainian playwright Neda Najdana and Marina Skalova, Franco-German author of Russian origin, who writes in French, drawn together by their common commitment to high standards in writing, their background in translation and their desire to bear witness to the past and present. This duo is also sponsoring the 10th anniversary edition of the Louise Weiss Prize for student literature, a trilingual writing competition.
Particularly committed to the renewal and political value of literature and art, the two authors will give lectures at the BNU, offer creative writing workshops in the university, testify as a duo, and discuss their literary and personal experiences.
Born in 1971 in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, Neda Nejdana is one of the most important playwrights in Eastern Europe. President of the Playwrights Union of Ukraine, she has become a true ambassador of Ukrainian theatre in Europe. Her plays have received numerous awards and been regularly staged in Ukraine and other countries. One of her latest plays, Pussycat in Memory of Darkness, has just received two nominations at the Offies in London. She is the author of poetry and about twenty plays performed around the world, as well as a translator, especially of French, Russian and Belarusian plays, which she has directed in Ukraine. She was guest of honour at the Ukrainian Season at the Maison d'Europe et d'Orient in Paris in 2016.
Amongst her works available in French, two major texts stand out. Maïdan inferno (Editions L'espace d'un instant, 2016) was written in spring 2014 during the Euromaidan events in Ukraine, while she was a writer in residence in Paris. Neda Nejdana co-edited with Dominique Dolmieu an exceptional work: From Chernobyl to Crimea. Panorama of contemporary theatre writing in Ukraine (De Tchernobyl à la Crimée. Panorama des écritures théâtrales contemporaines d'Ukraine : Editions L'espace d'un instant, 2019). This anthology contains a play by Neda Nejdana, The Refugee Fugitives, about the difficulty of living in the post-Chernobyl era. Neda Nejdana's theater is both universal and terribly topical. Her work constantly questions the challenges of our freedom, the meaning of our lives, that of a suffering and outraged humanity, always in exile from itself.
Photo credit: Litgazeta.com.ua
Born in 1988 in Moscow, Marina Skalova grew up in France and Germany, and has become one of the most important figures in contemporary poetry. Her work is at the crossroads of forms and languages, where poetry, poetic prose and theatre take on major contemporary questions about exile and migration, and the bodies and the voices of women. Her literary translations from Russian and German (Varlam Shalamov, Mikhail Shishkin, Galina Rymbu, Maria Stepanova, Martin Bieri) are part of a creative process that always engages language as a flow, a malleable material. Her latest projects explore the post-Soviet heritage, in a gesture that combines formal experimentation and the writer's commitment.
Her work has received numerous awards and has been presented in several European countries, in Ukraine and in Russia: in 2016 she received the Vocation Prize in poetry (Prix de la Vocation en poésie ) for her collection Atemnot (short breath), published by Editions Cheyne. Her play La chute des comètes et des cosmonautes (L'Arche, 2019) premiered in February 2019 at the Théâtre POCHE/GVE in Geneva, where she was author-in-residence: the play is part of the 2021 selection for the Prix des Lycéens Bernard-Marie Koltès, awarded by the Théâtre National de Strasbourg. She is also the author of the story Amarres (L'Âge d'Homme, 2017) and the collection Exploration du flux, un flux d'écriture musical, poétique et politique (Seuil, Fiction & Cie, 2018)
Photo credit: Dirk Skriba
Good to know
Key events with Neda Nejdana et Marina Skalova :
Conference and discussion in the Studium
Tuesday 22 November | 18:00 | Le Studium - 2 rue Blaise Pascal
Conferences “Voices of engaged creative artists” at the BNU
Novembre to December 2022 | 18:30 | Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire - 6 place de la République
Registration: Bnu.fr > Billeterie
Creative writing workshops reserved for students (inscription starts on 19 October 2022)
November to December 2022 - Esplanade campus
This residency is an opportunity to listen to, in a series of four lectures at the BNU, a dialogue between Neda Nejdana and Marina Skalova, two major female authors who are particularly dedicated to the renewal of literary forms, the documentary and the political merit of art. These two voices remind us of the importance of art and culture in the particularly bleak context of Eastern Europe in 2022.
The programme includes four conferences from November to December at the Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire (BNU) - 6 place de la République. Reservations: bnu.fr > Billetterie
Monday 14 November | 18h30: Contemporary Ukrainian dramaturgy: Stylistic and thematic trends | Neda Nejdana
Monday 21 November | 18:30: Poetry, drama and document (conference in duo) | Neda Nejdana and Marina Skalova
Monday 28 November | 18:30 : Poetry, gender, resistance in Russia | Marina Skalova
Friday 2 December | 18:30 : Feminine Creation in the East (conference in duo) | Neda Nejdana and Marina Skalova
Practical details :
- The workshops are reserved for the students of the University of Strasbourg: registration starting on Wednesday 19 October
- Students who register for either of the two series commit to participate in the series in its entirety.
Series of 4 creative writing workshops (16 hours) | Esplanade campus
- Tuesday 22 November | 14 h – 18 h | lecture hall 23, Escarpe
- Wednesday 23 November | 14 h – 18 h | Room 4004, Library of the Department of Slavic Studies, Patio
- Tuesday, 29 November| 16 h – 20 h | lecture hall AT4, Atrium
- Wednesday, 30 November| 14 h – 18 h | Room 4004, Library of the Department of Slavic Studies, Patio
Series of 2 discovery workshops (4 hours) | Esplanade campus
- Thursday 17 November | 16:30 – 18:30 | Room 0027, Escarpe
- Friday 18 November | 14:00 – 16:00 | Room 4004, bibliothèque du Département d’études slaves, Patio