White Ravens: Albania

8 books      

Albania (Albanian) - 1995 - 17
Grillo, Odhise K. (adapt.)
Shahini, Jusuf (cover illus.)
Lahuta e malsise
(The lute of the highlands)
Tiranë: Dituria, 1993. 103 p.
(Based on a story by Gjergj Fishta)

Albania (Albanian) - 1995 - 18
Grillo, Odhisc K. (adapt.)
Tafa, Gëzim (illus.)
Thike pas shpine…
(The knife in the back)
Tiranë: Nairn Frashëri, 1993. 96 p.
National identity/Albania - Albania/Independence
Both of these titles contain adaptations for young readers of three works of Albanian literature which have played a great role in the formation of the Albanian national identity. These works were banned during the socialist era and their authors expunged from annals of Albanian literary history. In the three-part epic "The lute of the highlands", which was published between 1905 and 1937 by the Northern Albanian Franciscan priest Gjergj Fishta (1871- 1940), the struggle of the Albanian people for autonomy between 1858 and 1913 is described. Fishta draws an exact picture of life in the raw mountainous regions and of the ancient common law of the Albanian tribes. "The Knife in the Back" is a retelling of the rather less well-known poem "Serafina Topia" (1843) by Jeronim de Rada (1814-1903) and contained in the same volume "The Call of Blood" is a retelling of "Kënga e sprapme e Balës" by Gavril Dara." (10+)
(Based on stories by Jeronim de RADA and Gavril DARA)

Albania (Albanian) - 1999 - 212
Avdyli, Besiana
Mos më zgjoni. Poezi
(Don't wake me. Poems)
Lezhë: Kuvendi, 1997. 68 p.
Albania/Poetry - Albania 1990s
In her subtly phrased poems which deal with many aspects of life, but above all with the political changes in Albania in the 1990s, Besiana Avdyli speaks especially to youthful readers. (13+)

Albania (Albanian) - 1999 - 213
Meksi, Mira (text)
Planetthi i ngrirë
(The little icy planet)
Elbasan: Onufri, 1997. 98 p.
Liberation - Science fiction
This latest fantasy novel by the young Albanian writer Mira Meksi focusses on a small planet which is completely covered with ice. Together its human and animal inhabitants fight to free it from ice and reunite with the mother planet. (7+)

Albania (Albanian) - 2002 - 232
Canosinaj, Viktor (text)
Çela, Arben (illus.)
(<Proper name>)
Tiranë : Andersen, 2000. 233 p.
(Biblioteka e fëmijëve dhe të rinjve)
ISBN 99927-650-6-2
Mother – Daughter – Death – Father – Alcoholism – Friendship
In his new novel, Viktor Canosinaj, who won the Albanian Youth Literature Award in 1996, describes the life of thirteen-year-old Meriyll. After her mother's death, she has to take care of her younger siblings and organise the housekeeping. When, on top of everything, her father loses his job, he falls into deep despair and starts drinking. The family hardly know how to survive and her new role often asks too much of Meriyll. She only just manages to escape being kidnapped and taken to Greece where she would have been sold into prostitution, while her brother joins a gang of children. Only with the aid and love of her friend and classmate Sidrit, does Meriyll finally find a way back to normality for herself and her family. (12+)

Albania (Albanian) - 2003 - 227
Vreto, Shpresa [et al.] (ed.)
Tiranë : Shtëpia Botuese »Andersen«, 1999. 184 p.
(Letërsi ballkanike për fëmije)
ISBN 99927-650-0-3
Balkan States / Fairytales
This volume containing popular as well as lesser known folktales and literary fairytales of the Balkans, was published by the Albanian IBBY Section. The editors have collected numerous examples which mirror the richness of the literature from this historically important and diverse cultural region. The book includes tales from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey. The black-and-white illustrations accompanying the texts are rendered in different techniques by various Albanian artists. (5+)

Albania (Albanian) - 2004 - 226
Lamaj, Ferit
Tiranë : Uegen, 2003. 163 p.
ISBN 99927-54-23-0
Ferit Lamaj is probably one of the most prolific contemporary writers of fables world-wide. He has won various international awards and published more than 2,000 fables in 50 books. Some of his works have also been translated into English, French, Italian, Romanian, and Greek. At first sight, the author seems to resort to merely describing everyday events from life in Albania. His main concern, however – just like that of his great predecessors such as Aesop, Lafontaine, Krylov, and others – is to uncover human weaknesses and criticise them with a lot of humour and irony. (8+)

Albania (Albanian) - 2004 - 227
Tukaj, Mustafa (text)
Ayers, Joanne M. (ed./transl.)
Faith and fairies : tales based on Albanian legends and ballads
Shkodër : Skodrinon, 2002. 56 p.
ISBN 99927-848-0-6
(English orig. edition)
Epic poetry
With the exception of a few early literary works, written literature in Albania only began to develop towards the end of the 19century. Before that time, Albanians mainly had rich folk epics with motifs from the Balkans. Usually, these epic poems were recited by blind bards who played the one-string Lahuta, a kind of knee-violin, to accompany their recitative. Mustafa Tukaj has now gathered a selection of these epics about topics such as »besa« (word of honour; faith), sacrifice, fight, or metamorphosis, and retold them in a convincing prose form, which still enables readers to feel the style of the original texts. (12+)