Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the world started to change dramatically. Overnight we stepped into a brave new reality, which was followed by new rules, new way of life and the transformation beyond all expectations. People faced social distancing and disconnection from everything they used to be attached to once. Everything has changed, so did the literature. It seemed like the time finally came to make some brave steps which would make real changes, which would make the writer’s voice to be heard. So, in the middle of all that chaos and turmoil, I was invited to participate in a very interesting and challenging creative workshop titled Awake Not Sleeping: Reimagining fairy tales for a new generation. At first, I wasn't quite sure what’s awaiting me, but now I know, that upon completing it, my old me was gone, there was only brave new me.
The project Brave New Me aims to share my personal experience with the creative workshop Awake Not Sleeping: Reimagining fairy tales for a new generation organized by the UN Women ECA, which ended up with an amazing collection of stories written by around 30 authors from Europe and Central Asia. This project was an amazing journey and a wonderful experience for me as a woman writer. I have learnt a lot, and I have progressed so much. Most exciting part of this project was definitely the group sessions during which I had the unique opportunity to meet women from different parts of the world, to hear their personal stories, to learn more about their vision of life, to get familiar with their writing skills, topics and ideas they mainly are inspired with and to understand better their creative process. This sharing of experience was priceless. I was especially enjoying the cultural diversity, we were spreading during our sessions, and that brought me the feeling that the whole world is in the palm of my hand, that we are closer than we thought. This workshop brought us together with one mission to act to make gender equality and human rights a lived reality for all” but it also succeeded in making us learn so much about our different cultures, languages, literary traditions. That was so valuable for me.
Audio and visual: Ana Stjelja
Promo material of the Awake Not Sleeping project (creative workshop and the book) is provided with the courtesy of the UN Women ECA (UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia)
Ana Stjelja (1982, Serbia). In 2009 she earned a Master’s degree in Sufism. In 2012 she obtained her PhD on the life and work of the Serbian feminist writer Jelena J. Dimitrijevic.
Serbian poet, writer, translator, journalist, independent scientific researcher and editor. She published more than 30 books of different literary genres.
In 2018 she established the Association Alia Mundi for promoting cultural diversity. Member of the Association of Writers of Serbia, the Association of Literary Translators of Serbia, the Association of Journalists of Serbia and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).