HISTORY OF THE MACEDONIAN P.E.N. CENTER
The Macedonian P.E.N. Center has a prominent place among the non-governmental organizations in the Republic of Macedonia. Founded in 1962, as part of the former Yugoslav association of P.E.N. clubs, it became independent in July 1967 (Oslo Congress) and it acquired voting rights in the International P.E.N. (London)
The Conference of the International P.E.N. held in Ohrid in 1974, during which Heinrich Bell chaired the round-table on "Tradition and Modern Literature", was the first major international activity in the series of events organized by the P.E.N. Center.
Since 1991, the bi-annual Ohrid Regional Conference has been held focusing on literary issues (Literature and Identity, Time, Dialogue, The Other). Discussions on the last four conferences have included current cultural and political issues (writers in conditions of war-conflict, the situation in Bosnia - Herzegovina, draft-resolutions on literary cooperation among European P.E.N. centers). The last conference (1997) which included an extraordinary session of the Committee of Translation and Language Rights (seated in Barcelona), produced a Draft-Project for the exchange of literary translations and the establishment of a separate edition of the International P.E.N. This engaging document should be adopted at the forthcoming Congress in Helsinki (September 5-12, 1998).
In years past, the work of the Macedonian P.E.N. has included a periodical informative bulletin. During the last few years, this publication has evolved into a literary P.E.N. Review. Last year's edition of the Review (winter/spring 1997/98) is exclusively dedicated to contemporary Macedonian poetry. Thirty living poets—members of the Macedonian P.E.N.—have been reviewed and translated into English and French including among others S. Janevski, G. Todorovski, M. Matevski, A. Popovski, V. Urošević, P. M. Andreevski, M. Rendžov, R. Pavlovski, B. Gjuzel, E. Kletnikov, V. Čejkovska... This year's edition of the Review (winter '98-'99) is dedicated to contemporary Macedonian prose. Seventeen Macedonian writers—members of the Macedonian P.E.N.—have been reviewed and translated into English and French.
Two years ago, the Macedonian P.E.N. initiated several publishing projects. The contract for the exchange of anthology selections of modern poetry between Macedonia and Bulgaria, signed with the Bulgarian P.E.N. in 1996, has finally been implemented. The book Contemporary Bulgarian Poets was published in April 1998 in Skopje (a Kultura publication), and the anthology Contemporary Macedonian Poets by the academic author G. Stardelov was promoted on June 10, in the presence of the publisher from Sofia (Slobodno Poetsko Opštestvo). This edition precisely notes that a translation from the Macedonian language has been conducted (instead of the common alternatives that omit mention of the Macedonian language). The experience of translating Macedonian poetry faced Bulgarian writers with the fact that the Macedonian literary language is truly individual, and that producing dictionaries of the two languages—Macedonian-Bulgarian and Bulgarian-Macedonian—is urgent. Thus, what in normal conditions of mutual recognition of the national and linguistic identity is a commonplace fact, in this case became an artifact and cultural event.