On Saturday December 15th, in the Culture Hall in Babino Polje on the island of Mljet, the „Ulysses' Shelter” residency programme was oficially opened. The programme joins three partners: the Sandorf publishing house from Zagreb, the Slovenian Writers' Society from Ljubljana and the Thraka publishing house from Larissa, Greece. For the duration of the project, over the coming year, each of the partners will be hosting writers from Slovenia, Greece and Croatia in their literary residencies. While in Ljubljana the residency is located in the former apartment of the famous Slovene writer Dane Zajc, and in Larissa in the spaces of the Thraka publishing house, Sandorf, with the assistance of the Mljet local council and the Mljet National Park, placed the residency in the village of Pomena, at the very northern tip of the island.
At the press conference announcing the opening of the project, the organisers (Ivan Sršen from Sandorf, Agata Šimenc from the Slovenian Writers' Society, and Thanos Gogos from Thraka publishing) presented the project. The audience was also addressed by Eleni Anastasopolou, writer and head of the regional Education Office of the province of Thessaly, and Aksinja Kermauner, president of the Slovenian Writers Society. Christos Armando Gkezos, the Greek poet and first guest of the Mljet residency, presented his work. Mirko Božić, a writer and translator from Mostar, conducted a conversation with the author.
The Mljet audience attended the opening in large numbers, interested in the new cultural event on the island. Armandos Gkezos and Eleni Anastasopolou thrilled the gathered crowd by reading their poems, which were translated into Croatian for the occasion, and the head of the Mljet local council Đivo Market greeted the first artists in residence, Armandos Gkezos and his Croatian colleague Matko Abramić, and welcomed the entire project.
Until fall of next year, a total of twelve young poets will spend time on Mljet, four from each country involved in the project, and every attending author will hold two literary events for local audiences. From Greece it will be Armandos Gkezos, Lena Kallergi, Vassileia Oikonomou and Thanos Gogos, from Slovenia Urška Kramberger, Denis Škofič, Katja Gorečan and Aljaž Koprivnikar, and from Croatia Lara Mitraković, Goran Čolakhodžić, Jasmina Mujkić and Antej Jelenić. All activities of the Mljet literary residency can be followed on the website www.tovar.hr .
The „Ulysses' Shelter” project was co-financed by the European Union's Creative Europe programme, and the Sandorf publishing house (in cooperation with the Mljet local council) intends to keep the project on Mljet, and thereby open the island up for direct communication with European and world literature.