Albanian League of Writers and Artists
The Albanian League of Writers and Artists (ALWA) (Albanian: Lidhja e Shkrimtarëve dhe e Artistëve) is an organization of creators, located in Tirana, Albania, which includes writers, composers, and artists and critics of the literary and artistic values.
ALWA was crystallized as 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 on 1957, resulting in these two organizations merging in a single institution: The Albanian League of Writers and Artists. Sejfulla Malëshova was appointed its leader and Fan S. Noli its honorary president. Among the most known creators were Lasgush Poradeci, Nonda Bulka, Skënder Luarasi, Dhimitër Shuteriqi, Sterjo Spasse, etc. At the beginning there were by 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.
Stories of survival
The League of Writers and Artists, despite the ideological dictates of the Party of Labour of Albania, has played a positive and decisive role in the development of Albanian literature and art, especially for the selection, publication and propaganda of the works with Albanian nationality content. Among ALWA queues have been continuously writers and artists who have not ever loved communist ideology and have acted in a disguised manner to protect and promote literary and artistic real values by advertising, publicizing, studying, and making them part of school programs for pupils and students. Thanks to the writers, artists and scholars who have loved Albanian nation in silent more than the ideology of the Party of Labour of Albania, which had subjected the art, literature, cinematography and literary criticism to the Method of Socialist Realism, to the Albanian people eager for knowledge and especially that part of intelligence that in silent ever disagreed with communist ideology are offered true artistic values with deep national spirit and content. The Party of Labour of Albania through the Method of Socialist Realism, aimed to establish the new communist man, a kind of subjected individual, internationalist, anti-Albanian, a kind of a robot or a kind of human model as Lejfeni, famous Chinese character.
The man-doll without character and individuality that the communist ideology aimed was never realized in Albania. Despite some communist writers and artists subservient to the Communist dictatorship, the majority of Albanian writers and artists sometimes in silent and sometimes opened resisted to the ideological poisoning. Through the years with the insistence of the writers, artists and scholars actually was reached to collect the old Albanian literature, pre-medieval authors like Frang Bardhi, Pjetër Budi, Pjetër Bogdani, etc. were published and propagandized. Popular poets, the period of Albanian National Renaissance, the romantics like Naim Frashëri and Lasgush Poradeci, the critics as Fan S. Noli and Migjeni (Millosh Gjergj Nikolla) and how many other authors with deep national Albanian values were published.
Many of Albanian writers were made translators and succeeded to publish in Albanian language masterpieces of world literature from antiquity like Aristotle, Plato, Euripides, Sophocles, Virgil, Homer, Shakespeare to them of modern literature as Mark Twain, Jack London, Truman Capote, Garcia Marquez and many other authors from the East and West, whose works were the true school for Albanian creativity. Among the queues of the League of Writers and Artists have been also dissident-minded authors like Sejfulla Malëshova, the first leader of this organization, like the writer Kasem Trebeshina, who was imprisoned for his creativity, like Pjetër Arbnori (also called Albanian Mandela), who was re-convicted in prison for his literary anticommunist work, as the dissident Bilal Xhaferri who was expelled, exiled in communist gulags and forced to flee to the U.S., as Vilson Blloshmi who was shot and how many others who were persecuted in thousands ways. A part, like the poet Xhevahir Spahiu, Dritëro Agolli or Ismail Kadare, survived. With these kinds, the communist regime was done by banning and criticizing the publication of any of their works. Of course, to survive will be published creativity that served the communist ideology. So did many writers and artists like Dritëro Agolli, Ismail Kadare, Fatos Arapi, Fatos Kongoli etc. and also many painters, sculptors, composers, literary critics, cinematographers, scholars, journalists, etc. So, they chose the path of compromise for survival.
Thus, between the communist anti-values, the true values of Albanian art and literature survived as well. It is true that some members of ALWA, part of communist censorship with their reviews have affected to ban dissident literature and art and have encouraged prosecution and persecution of dissident authors, but there were periods that they have supported and encouraged young talent. The writer Dritëro Agolli, who has had longer the leader’ duty of this organization, in the years 80’ has followed a liberal politic to the support and promotion of the new talents. With his initiative and recommendations have been allowed to follow the university studies and have been encouraged to create talents even from the most persecuted and anti-communist classes of Albanian society, like the poets Skënder Buçpapa, Mujo Buçpapa or prosers like Faruk Myrtaj, Shefki Hysa etc.
For these and many other reasons it is wrong to say that the members of ALWA are socialists, communists and how many inventions of this nature that stem from some extremist that supposedly hold the flag right in the name of revenge against the left extreme. After 1990, Albanian creators, writers and artists, members of the League of Writers and Artists, believed too much in their liberation and in the liberation of artistic creativity in general. There was worked a lot in the hurry to catch the lost time. There was a huge boom of creativity. Many of the prohibited works were reassessed and were published. Persecuted figures of the past like Faik Konica, Gjergj Fishta, Ernest Koliqi, etc., dissidents of the communist era like Bilal Xhaferri, Kasem Trebeshina, Pjetër Arbnori etc. were revalued. So, ALWA contributed too much in the appreciation of art, literature and authors aforetime prohibited. However, during the post-communist period as well, with a very problematic democracy and highly politicized, the League of Writers and Artists is imposed an adulatory attitude toward the ruling party, the right one or the left one. Again the government has tried to usurp this institution and has 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 abandoned it. Most of them have 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. In ALWA status, Article 1, is clearly defined its essential nature as the common home of art and literature: "Albanian League of Writers and Artists is a free and independent institution, a set of professional creators, opened for every other literature and artistic association, unconditioned by political views, trends and artistic platforms". Today, the ALWA has approximately 1300 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 60 years of its history, Albanian League of Writers and Artists has been led by distinguished personalities of our culture. Its leaders have been the gentlemen: Sejfulla Malëshova, Dhimitër Shuteriqi, Dritëro Agolli, Bardhyl Londo, Xhevahir Spahiu, Limos Dizdari, Zyhdi Morava, and Hysen Sinani the actual leader.
For more than 50 years, 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 publishes 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 burdens.
- Academy of Sciences of Albania, Encyclopedic Dictionary, 2nd Edition, (2008), Tirana, ISBN 978-99956-10-28-9
- Robert Elsie, Albanian literature: a short history, I.B.Tauris, (2005), ISBN 978-1845110314.
- Worldwide Literary Organizations
- Homepage of Albanian Literature
- Robert Elsie (2005). Albanian literature: a short history. I.B.Tauris. p. 164. ISBN 978-1845110314.
- Dritëro Agolli, biography
- Ismail Kadare, biography
- Koha Jonë. "Mbyllet me dryn Lidhja e Shkrimtarëve" [The Writers League premises are locked] (in Albanian). Shqiperia.com. Retrieved 2013-09-24.