“Retour au Kosovo” Finally Translated into Albanian!

Event Highlight: Graphic Novel Launch by Albanian Author Gani Jakupi

On a recent Sunday afternoon, the Institute of Political Studies “Sami Frashëri” hosted a significant cultural event — the Albanian launch of “Retour au Kosovo,” a graphic novel by Albanian author Gani Jakupi in collaboration with Argentine illustrator Jorge Gonzales. Initially published in French in 2014, the work is acclaimed as “the most comprehensive portrayal of the Kosovo War.”

Translation Journey:

The path to translating and publishing this novel in Albanian was long and fraught with challenges. Gani Jakupi shared during the event, “Someone had it in their hands back in 2012, but the publishing house’s manager said: ‘Too expensive! Who spends money on this?'” Despite these hurdles, the novel has been successfully translated into Albanian by Gazmend Bërlajolli, adding to its existing translations in Spanish, Italian, Polish, and other languages.

Critical Acclaim and Participant Reactions:

Participants at the launch expressed the essential need for the novel’s translation into Albanian. Historian Ardian Muhaj remarked, “The absence of the novel in Albanian was an artistic abortion.” Writer Mehmet Elezi, moved by the work, stated, “This is the most complete tableau of the Kosovo War.”

Former Albanian diplomat and writer, Besnik Mustafaj, praised the novel as a masterpiece, commenting, “This is not just a book. It’s an art catalog, a masterpiece. Those who have read it understand best what I mean. Congratulations, Gani!”

The Novel’s Significance:

“Retour au Kosovo” offers a poignant and in-depth exploration of the Kosovo War, providing readers with a unique perspective through the medium of graphic storytelling. Its translation into Albanian opens up this important work to a broader audience, enabling a deeper connection with the narrative among Albanian speakers.

The event not only celebrated the novel’s launch but also highlighted the importance of making such significant works accessible to all interested readers. By bringing “Retour au Kosovo” to the Albanian public, the “ProArte Institute” has contributed significantly to the cultural dialogue surrounding the Kosovo War and its representation in art and literature.

Looking Forward:

The successful translation and launch of “Retour au Kosovo” in Albanian underscore the vital role of literary and artistic works in bridging historical narratives and contemporary understanding. It marks a significant achievement in the cultural exchange between Albania and the broader world, promising further exploration and discussion of this crucial period in history.

Sami Frasheri Institute
Rruga Pjeter Budi,
Qyteti Studenti, Tiranë