Lidija Dimkovska: A symbol of young Macedonian literature

Lidija Dimkovska, known as one of the most important representatives of young Macedonian literature, has gained international recognition as an author, poet, translator, and essayist. She was born in Skopje in 1971, where she studied comparative literature later. She obtained a Ph.D. Romanian literature at the University of Bucharest and has been awarded several prizes like the EU prize for literature, the EU’s Poetry prize, the Macedonian Prize for Literature, the Prose prize of the Macedonian Writers Association, the German poetry prize, and many more.

In her European literature-priced work ‘A spare life’, she tells the story about Srebra and Zlata, a personal and intimate story about the struggle for autonomy and identity of two Siamese twins connected by their head. When they decided to go through separation procedures in their search for autonomy, the protagonist Zlata faces the loss of her sister who doesn’t survive the surgery. Dimkovska closely connects this to the separation struggles of the Yugoslavian Republic and describes that “the period of bloodshed in Yugoslavia corresponds with the life of two ordinary girls”. Dimkovska identifies herself with the ‘lost generation’, born in the 70s, in which many men left and lost their lives on battlefields on the ex-Yugoslavian ground and next to personal changes, political, historical, and universal changes have heavily shaped and ruled their lives. Which she focuses on in her work.

She works up Balkan culture, history, and identities and makes them key parts in her stories and poesy, but also offers food for thought to her readers when she interweaves personal impressions, her experience of womanhood, or even theory and folk poetry in her poesy and texts. She plays with the otherness, which for example can be found in the Siamese twins Zlata and Srebra, characters who are rarely presented in the literature, as well as the “dares and deviates from everything known and familiar.” By creating atypical situations and apparent opposites in her texts she breaks taboos and lifts restrictions. She holds up a mirror to the reader, who may not be able to identify with the figures and situations at first but grows onto them and accepts them. When looking up her poems you will find in particular the reoccurring theme of seemingly ordinary words (‘Aloe Vera’). She uses them to generate associations and is also diving deep into what cultural and personal biases can do with the perception of a text, slowly opening up the reader’s mind to different views and approaches post understanding of named biases.

Lidija Dimkovska is a writer versatile in everything that she creates. The scurrility of her work gives her poems character, which with the analysis of modern east-European society and its history combined into a form of art that you will remember and find yourself circling back to. Her poems are exciting to read and while you might have to read them three, four, or five times and may need to kneel deep into the intention and analyses of her work, you will find yourself cherishing it. It is safe to say that Lidija Dimkovska is a great representation of eastern European countries. She brings problems, identity, and faces from the Balkans to inside and outside of Europe – to the world. 

Marie Kiel

Sources:

Youtube: Interview with Lidija Dimkovska (North Macedonia) – EUPL 2013

Poetry International: Lidija Dimkovska 

Ditet e naimit: Lidija Dimkovska (North Macedonia)

Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin: Lidija Dimkovska

Litterae Slovenicae: Die (Ent-)Scheidung als Bedingung für Autonomie in den Romanen von Lidija Dimkovska

The white Review: Interview with Lidija Dimkovska

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