Luljeta Lleshanaku

Luljeta Lleshanaku

Luljeta Lleshanaku was born in Elbasan, Albania in 1968. Under Enver Hoxha’s Stalinist dictatorship, she grew up under house arrest. Lleshanaku was not permitted to attend college or publish her poetry until the weakening and eventual collapse of the regime in the early 1990s. She was eventually able to study Albanian philology and literature at the University of Tirana, and later attended the MFA Program at Warren Wilson College, USA. She has worked as a school teacher, literary magazine editor, screenwriter, television author and currently as a research director at the Institute of Studies of Communist Genocide in Albania. She was a fellow of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 1999, and received a fellowship from Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2008-2009.

She has won several prestigious awards for her poetry, including PEN Albania 2016 (from Albanian PEN Center), National Prize 'Silver Pen, 2000' for poetry, and the International Kristal Vilenica Prize (International Festival of Literature, Slovenia 2009). She was one of the winners of Prishtina Book Fair, 2013 (Kosovo); the winner of KULT Prize, 2013 in Albania for the best book of the year and was awarded 'Author of the Year' by the Publishers Association of Tirana Book Fair, 2013. Her second American collection, Child of Nature, was one of 2011 BTBA (Best Translated Book Award) poetry finalists. In 2012 she was one of two finalists in Poland for their European Poet of Freedom prize.

She has published seven books of poetry in Albanian, and so far seven poetry collections translated into other languages.