Female Macedonian novelists are reversing the male dominance of the genre, writes Lidija Kapushevska-Drakulevska. In poetry, meanwhile, “a completely individualized form of expression” has developed, and it is here that the biggest innovations are being made.

“We should put a wit virus into the established system of ethnic, religious, language, and any other kind of exclusivism. This virus should empasize the little and seemingly irrelevant things, as opposed to the things that seem great, essential, historic.” Macedonian author Pajo Avirovic on how a joke goes along way in a society riven by ethnic tension.

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“In the minds of all the Balkan nations there are two maps with two different borders. One is the contemporary map, usually called the political map of one’s state. The other is the historical map, a map sometimes secretly and often openly cherished.” Former Macedonian foreign minister Denko Maleski on Balkan nationalism and why, in the conflict between Macedonia and Greece, both sides are debating a non-existent issue.