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Luljeta Lleshanaku was born in Elbasan, Albania. She is the author of seven books of poetry in Albanian. Book length translations of her work into other languages include Antipastoral (Italy, 2006), Kinder der natur (Austria, 2010), Dzieci natury (Poland, 2011), and Lunes en Siete Dias (Spain, 2017). She has won several prestigious awards for her poetry, including PEN Albania 2016, and the International Kristal Vilenica Prize in 2009. In 2012 she was one of two finalists in Poland for their European Poet of Freedom 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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