1st Women in Mountains residency to host 10 female writers

SOFIA, Bulgaria – Ten women writers from six countries will participate in the first edition of the Women in the Mountains residency. They were selected from among 150 submissions by an international jury, said the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation (EKF) Tuesday.

The 2023 Women in the Mountains Residency is financially supported by the Bulgarian Fund for Women, the National Culture Fund under the program "Restoration and Development of Private Cultural Organizations", The Spark Company and organized in partnership with the Municipality of Chepelare.

It is also backed by individual donors.

The participants are Adriana Andreeva (Bulgaria, a professional in cultural management, curation, journalism, and writing); Katerina Dementeva (Latvia, a writer, feminist and queer activist); Nevena Eliseeva (Bulgaria, winner of numerous regional and national literary awards); Louisa Kadian (Bulgaria, author of a short-story collection which won the 2021 Yordan Radichkov National Award for debut); Fearn Kli (United Kingdom, works in a small restaurant and writes); Victoria Lekova (Bulgaria, a poet, writer and PhD candidate in Cultural Studies); Maria Oleksa (Ukraine, a journalist and writer); Svitlana Taratorina (Ukraine, a fantasy and science fiction author); M. Winter (Estonia, a post-doctoral researcher in Business Administration, author of short stories); Kirstin Zhang (Scotland, novelist).

EKF started its Women in the Mountains program in 2023 exclusively for women writers aiming "to provide a conducive space and ample time for deep creative work" for ten women writers from Bulgaria and other countries in Europe, to use EKF's words.

With this residency the Foundation seeks to address some of the challenges that women writers often face: persistent undervaluing of writing as a profession, the perception of women's writing as a hobby, the underestimation of domestic work, and the cultural expectation for women to prioritize the care of others over their own needs.

Professional writing is a demanding form of work, and finding a private and concentrated space for it can be challenging for any writer.

However, women writers, in particular, face additional barriers, as revealed by a survey conducted by EKF in collaboration with the Bulgarian Fund for Women.

The women writers interviewed shared that they were accustomed to writing in makeshift spaces such as offices, playgrounds, on their phones, while shopping, commuting to work, or even while doing household chores, EKF said. (BTA)