Albanian League of Writers and Artists
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The Albanian League of Writers and Artists (ALWA) (Albanian: Lidhja e Shkrimtarëve dhe e Artistëve) is an organization of writers, composers, and artists and critics of literary and artistic values, located in Tirana, Albania. During the period in which the country was Communist, the League was a tool of the government's efforts to require writers and artists to advance the goals of the Communist party, and to censor, ban, and punish those writers and artists who failed to do so.
ALWA was formed by a union of two organizations: "The Writers League", founded on October 7, 1945, and "The Artists League", founded in 1949. The First Congress was held in 1957, resulting in the two organizations merging into a single institution: The Albanian League of Writers and Artists. Sejfulla Malëshova was named its leader; he also served as Albania's Minister of Culture and Propaganda). Among the creators were Lasgush Poradeci, Skënder Luarasi (expelled from the League for several years beginning in 1949 due to his anti-conformist behavior), Dhimitër Shuteriqi, and Sterjo Spasse. At the beginning it had 70 members.
Its statute describes its activities as:
ALWA is a non-government organization, it was created by a group of Albanian writers and artists to propagate literary and artistic creativity of Albanian authors, to evaluate and re-evaluate the best works of the Albanian literature, music, painting and sculpture, traditional and contemporary values, and to encourage the creativity of young talents. ALWA protects and stimulates the best tendencies of the developments of literature and art to serve to the society and Albanian nation, under the best models of literary and artistic values of the civilized nations.
The League of Writers and Artists has played a role in the development of Albanian literature and art, especially for the selection, publication, and propaganda of works with Albanian nationality content.
From the 1960s until the Communist regime collapsed in the early 1990s, the League accused Albanian writers it deemed guilty of neglecting their responsibility as Communists to reflect socialist realism in their writings and thereby advance the goals of the Communist Party with their writings; some were arrested, and either imprisoned for many years or shot, and others were hounded by the state secret police and suffered attacks.
Among the membership of the League have been dissident authors such as the writer Kasem Trebeshina (who was imprisoned), Pjetër Arbnori (also called Albanian Mandela; who was re-convicted in prison for his literary anti-communist work and imprisoned from ages 26 to 54), the dissident Bilal Xhaferri (who was expelled, exiled in communist gulags, and forced to flee to the U.S.), Vilson Blloshmi (who was shot), and many others who were persecuted in many ways. Some survived, such as the poet Xhevahir Spahiu and the writer Ismail Kadare (who ultimately defected to France to escape the regime and its Sigurimi secret police, and thereafter won the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca, the Herder Prize, the Man Booker International Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award, the Jerusalem Prize, the Park Kyong-ni Prize, and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature).
Some members of ALWA, part of Communist censorship, with their reviews have effected bans of dissident literature and art and have encouraged prosecution and persecution of dissident authors.
After 1990 ALWA contributed to the appreciation of art, literature and authors who were earlier banned. However, during the post-communist period as well, with a very problematic democracy and highly politicized, the League of Writers and Artists imposed an adulatory attitude toward the ruling party, the right one or the left one. The government tried to usurp ALWA and appointed leaders of Albanian creators taking advantage by the economical difficulties that writers, artists, and organizations were experiencing.
Finally, after ALWA managed to escape from politics, it was found without economic support and on the verge of bankruptcy. In this difficult situation the state turned to it its back, got the building where its headquarters was, but the writers and artists did not abandon it. Most of them realized that they must cooperate far from the policy of powers and parties. Writers and artists are those who keep alive ALWA in this difficult period full of crisis.
Today, the ALWA has approximately 1,300 members. Leading authorities are: National Congress, Chairmanship, and Administrative Council. In the organizational structure operate the section of literature, music, painting, sculpture, and the section of young talents.
For more than 50 years, the Albanian League of Writers and Artists has had its literary and artistic organs: the magazine "Literatura jonë" (English: Our Literature), followed by the monthly magazine "Nëntori" (English: November), later on the weekly Drita (English: The light) (1961), the magazine "Les letters Albanaises" (1978) in French, "Bota Letrare" (English: Literary World), and "Revista Letrare" (English: Literary Magazine), as various publications until 1990. Currently the organization of Albanian writers and artists doesn’t publish any organ due to lack of funds.
In 2007, after 62 years of continuous activity, AlWA was displaced from their premises. However, ALWA currently continues its activities, despite the economic burden.
- Worldwide Literary Organizations
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