Writers from Slovenia and New Zealand to be the first participants of the Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature Residency Programme

The names of the writers invited to the first international residency in Ulyanovsk are announced. In 2019, authors from Ljubljana and Dunedin will visit the city.


Open call for writers and translators from the UNESCO Literary Cities was announced in the spring of 2019. The Board consisted of poets, writers, editors, representatives of the "Ulyanovsk – UNESCO city of literature" direction, Foundation “Ulyanovsk – the Capital of Culture” and the city administration. Following the selection, two authors were chosen.

In June, Andrej Hočevar from Ljubljana (Slovenia) will arrive in Ulyanovsk. He is a poet, writer, critic, a member of the editorial board at LUD Literatura, the main editor of the imprint Prišleki, an author of six poetry books (the first of which was nominated for the best debut, the latest for the Veronika Award) and a collection of short stories. The texts of the author were translated into foreign languages, he participated in international literary festivals, including events in Russia. Hočevar has conceived and headed several literary and cultural projects, among them the project “Slovenian Literature and Foreign Critics”, which represents the first critics-related cooperation of its kind in Slovenia. The writer is going to work on a set of poems, as well as on a reportage about the literary life of Ulyanovsk and local authors. The guest from Slovenia is interested in the social circumstances of the literature, which, in his opinion, are not stressed enough.

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Andrej Hočevar. Photo: Matic Bajželj © LUD Literatura  

In September, David Howard from Dunedin (New Zealand) will visit Ulyanovsk. The author is going to develop a poetic sequence set in Ulyanovsk, as well as to collaborate with a local composer on a musical setting for his texts. Howard is the author of six books, a participant of several international residencies, was awarded several literary awards, was a participant of exhibitions and performances, an editor of several books, including the book, devoted to Russian authors. His works were translated into European languages; the book «The Ones Who Keep Quiet» (Otago University Press, 2017) featured in the New Zealand Listener’s Books of the Year. David received the New Zealand Society of Authors Mid-Career Writers' Award (2009), the University of South Pacific Poetry Prize (2011), and the University of Otago Robert Burns Fellowship (2013).

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David Howard. Photo: Shadowmap  

The writers will work in apartments in the city center in a quiet courtyard with a garden, located on the territory of the hotel complex "Old Simbirsk". Each guest will perform the results of his work at the presentation at the end of the stay in Ulyanovsk.

At least two authors from literary cities of the UNESCO network are scheduled to be invited to the residency every year.

In 2015, Ulyanovsk received the status of the Most Reading Region of Russia, and also entered the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the “Literature” direction. Today, the Network unites 180 cities from 72 countries of the world.