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Riding for Erasmus

Riding for Erasmus

A dozen sturdy bikes whirr past on the sun-scorched path that weaves through the floodplains forest of the Lobau, just east of Vienna. The group say they are a “moving megaphone” for a more integrated Europe. Sprouting from the luggage-carriers above their rear wheels, the bikes sport small flags that wag in the wind, giving […]

Book Review: The Book of my Lives

Book Review: The Book of my Lives

When Serb forces attacked Sarajevo in 1992, the young Bosnian writer Aleksandar Hemon was visiting Chicago. He searched for familiar faces in television reports about the siege of his native city, wracked by worry and guilt for not being there. Yet on the day he was supposed to fly home, Hemon did not go back. […]

In Serbia, Too Few Babies

In Serbia, Too Few Babies

Thirty-two-year-old Sonja pushed a pram along the main pedestrian street in Belgrade on a brisk day in mid-December. The capital is one of the few places in Serbia with a growing population. Though that growth is mainly thanks to urbanisation, Belgrade is also the easiest and cheapest place in the country to have a child. […]

Croatia Introduces Cyrillic

Croatia Introduces Cyrillic

The Croatian government announced plans to install municipal signs written in both Latin and Cyrillic scripts in the eastern city of Vukovar and its surrounding municipalities. The decision is a response to constitutional law requiring bi-lingual signs where a minority surpasses 30 per cent of the population. Vukovar remains a symbolic place as the location […]

Book Review: The Lute and the Scars, by Danilo Kiš

Book Review: The Lute and the Scars, by Danilo Kiš

Witness to an Imagined World Literary rumor holds that Danilo Kiš was due to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1989. Instead, he died of lung cancer, at fifty-four. Had he been awarded the prize, surely the stories in The Lute and the Scars would have been translated long ago from their original Serbo-Croatian. […]

The Yugosphere: Not Just Balkan Nostalgia

The Yugosphere: Not Just Balkan Nostalgia

It is Saturday night. Boys in tight T-shirts and close-cut military hairstyles throw around boisterous jokes, encouraged by shots of schnapps they have just taken. Tipsy girls in miniskirts teeter under an onslaught of laughter. This is a common scene anywhere in the city on any given Saturday night. Tonight, however, we are on Ottakringer […]

Green light for gay pride parade in Belgrade

Green light for gay pride parade in Belgrade

Organisers have continued plans to hold a gay pride parade in the Serbian capital, in spite of recent appearances of homophobic graffiti, previous clashes and a cancellation. The week-long Prajd 2012 celebrations are set to kick off 30 Sept., with a march in the capital scheduled for 6 Oct., the day before the festival’s finale. […]

Book Review: Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife

Book Review: Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife

Fear and Myth: The Law of the Jungle The Tiger’s Wife, Téa Obreht’s spellbinding debut novel, acutely depicts postwar life in a Balkan country resembling the former Yugoslavia, where history and myth form a potent mix, and the restless souls of the dead continue to trouble the living. Winner of the 2011 Orange Prize and […]

Worst drought in decades hits Central Europe

From wildfires in Bosnia and crop shortages in Moldova and Serbia, to the decreased water levels of the Danube in Bulgaria, the Balkan and Eastern European region is experiencing the effects of record heat and drought. Following a record winter, the summer’s heat has wreaked havoc on potato and corn crops, especially in Serbia and […]

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