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Ani Gjika is an Albanian-born poet, literary translator and writer. Her book Bread on Running Waters (2013) was a finalist for the 2011 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, and the 2011 May Sarton New Hampshire Book Prize. Gjika moved to the US when she was 18, earning an MA in English at Simmons College, and an MFA in poetry at Boston University. Her honours include awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, English PEN Translates, Framingham State University’s Miriam Levine Award, and the Robert Fitzgerald Translation Prize.

Negative Space

Bloodaxe Books
2019 Shortlist
United Kingdom

Judges’ Citation

With a lesser known original language, the more precious the gift of translation! Luljeta Lleshanaku’s Negative Space offers a rare glimpse into contemporary Albanian poetry.

With a lesser known original language, the more precious the gift of translation! Luljeta Lleshanaku’s Negative Space offers a rare glimpse into contemporary Albanian poetry. Effortlessly and with crisp precision, Ani Gjika, herself a poet, has rendered into English, not only the poems in Negative Space, but also the eerie ambience which resonates throughout the book, the deep sense of impermanence that is one of the many consequences of growing up under severe political oppression. ‘Negative space is always fertile.’ Opening trauma’s door, we’re met by a tender and intelligent voice with stories illuminating existence in a shared humanity, thus restoring dignity. In a world fractured by terror and violence, Lleshanaku’s poetry is infinitely exciting, soothing us, its citizens.


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