Place: Sarajevo

The Borders Project Reading: Atlanta’s Narrative Collective + Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop

The word “borders” could suggest both the presence and the absence of limits.

The Borders Project gave its first reading in Atlanta recently. A multi-genre literary collaboration between the Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop and Atlanta’s Narrative Collective, the project aims to examine all sorts of boundary lines—physical, temporal, emotional, relational, among others—and their implications. Eighteen writers and one translator came together to create work in two languages. In this essay, Stacy Mattingly, founder and co-founder of the two constituent collectives, follows the process to the Atlanta reading.

1.

The Warhorse coffee shop at Atlanta’s Goat Farm Arts Center is a long room with a garage door on one end and a wall of bookshelves on the other. Hanging from the ceiling in front of the books is a large screen. On it is the face of a friend of mine in Sarajevo. The background is a field of stars. Selma Asotić is a head floating in outer space, reciting her English poem “The Nation.”

“You are /everything which does not love me. / You are / the curse I hide under my tongue …”

Those present are fixated on the image. Some make references in jest to Star Wars. We take photos to post online for Selma and others. Danny Davis, the Goat Farm’s technical director, stands at a ladder positioned below a projector and tells us not to worry—that starry background will definitely be gone before our event.

I am just relieved all the videos from overseas are working.

My colleagues and I are doing a run-through of our reading for The Borders Project, a literary collaboration involving two writing groups—Narrative Collective in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop (SWW) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I belong to both, having launched SWW in 2012 and co-founded Narrative Collective with poet L.S. McKee in 2014.

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Graphic Novel in Translation: Karim Zaimović’s “The Invisible Man from Sarajevo,” Part IV

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Graphic Novel in Translation: Karim Zaimović’s “The Invisible Man from Sarajevo,” Part III

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Graphic Novel in Translation: Karim Zaimović’s “The Invisible Man from Sarajevo,” Part II

Part II of Asymptote blog's first-ever graphic-novel-in-translation

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Download part one, part two, and part three.

Karim Zaimović (1971-1995) was a comic strip artist and writer for the weekly magazine BH Dani in Sarajevo. During the war he hosted a radio show on Radio Wall, Sarajevo, called “Joseph and His Brothers.” At 24, he was killed in Sarajevo, in August 1995, only three months before the Dayton Peace Accords brought an end to the fighting. His stories and the transcripts of his radio shows were lovingly assembled in the book, The Secret of Raspberry Jam, by his friends and colleagues, and were produced for the stage in a play of the same name by theater director Selma Spahić.

Aleksandar Brezar was born in Sarajevo in 1984. He has worked as a journalist at Radio 202 and a translator on several documentary films and other film-related projects for PBS, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Al Jazeera English, among others. His translations have appeared in the Massachusetts Review, Brooklyn Rail, Asymptote, Peščanik, and Lupiga. His graphic novel adaptation of Karim Zaimović’s story “The Secret of Nikola Tesla,” illustrated by Enis Čišić, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015.

Boris Stapić is a graphic designer and illustrator from Sarajevo. He studied in Zagreb, Croatia, at the School of Applied Arts and Design, and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has worked at several advertising agencies as a designer and creative director. Boris has co-founded the TripleClaim Game Collective, a video game, app, and new media studio. Of the adaptation, he says, “adapting the original text was a great challenge because Karim’s stories seem to arise from an external creative impulse. They are a melting pot of ideas, obsessions and anxieties of the entire twentieth century, and a playful and engaging literary game of motifs and intimate fascinations.