Elvira Dones is an Albanian novelist,screenwriter, and documentary film producer. Born in the coastal city of Durrës Dones graduated from the State University of Tirana. In 1988 she was employed by Albanian State Television and in this capacity traveled to Switzerland, where she defected. Tried for treason in Albania (in absentia), she was sentenced to prison and denied access to her young son until after the collapse of communism in Albania in 1992. From 1988 until 2004 Dones lived in Switzerland where she worked as a writer and a television journalist, while also writing, directing, and producing several documentaries. Since 2004 she has lived in the United States. The bulk of her writing is in either Italian or Albanian, but several of her documentary films have been subtitled in English. Several of these films have either won or been nominated for various awards. Her most recent documentary, Sworn Virgin, tells the story of women in northern Albania who swear perpetual chastity in their teenage years and become men in their society —not women acting like men or women who have gender reassignment, but simply women who are now men. This film was named the best documentary at the Baltimore Women's Film Festival in 2007.