Bookstan - No East, No West

21 July 2018

From 4 to 7 July the literary festival Bookstan - No East, No West took place in Sarajevo for the third time, with as this year’s theme Borders and Boundaries. There was an important place for literature in Dutch at this year’s festival. Curator Geert Mak, with the support of Mireille Berman of the Dutch Foundation for Literature, invited Dutch and Flemish writers to discuss borders in culture, literature and politics.

From the Netherlands and Flanders, Geert Mak, Guido Snel, Frank Westerman, Griet op de Beeck, Saskia de Coster and Dubravka Ugrešić appeared on stage. Chris Keulemans moderated several sessions and Willemijn Lamp, artistic director of the Amsterdam literary festival Read my World, took part in a panel discussion about the role and significance of international literary festivals. Bookshop and publishing house Buybook, set up just after the war by Goran Samardžić and Damir Uzunović (who is also the initiator and director of the festival), published no fewer than eighteen translated titles by participating authors to mark the occasion.

As well as national and local authors, guests at Bookstan included British author David Mitchell, American-Bosnian author Aleksandar Hemon and American literary critic John Freeman. The festival also featured exhibitions, concerts and an educational programme for young literary critics. Bookstan was in receipt of funding from the Dutch embassy in Sarajevo and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.