The Women Writers Route has been certified by the European Institute for Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe. The Women Writers Route is the first of the 48 Council of Europe Cultural Routes to be based in Slovenia.
The development of the new cultural-tourist route started five years ago on the initiative of the International Foundation Forum of Slavic Cultures, and at the end of 2020 the Women Writers Route Association was formally established and registered. The latter is based in Villa Zlatica in Ljubljana. After several years of project work, programme activities, network expansion, evaluation by experts from the European Institute of Cultural Routes and a presentation at its headquarters in Luxembourg, the Women Writers Route was certified and became the first Council of Europe cultural route based in Slovenia. On the occasion of this important milestone, Dr. Andreja Rihter, President of the Women Writers Route Association and Director of the Forum of Slavic Cultures, said: “The Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes programme already includes a good number of Slovenian institutions and organisations, but the Women Writers Route is the first one to be based in Slovenia. We are particularly proud of this, as literature is extremely important for Slovenian culture and identity. Women writers have been largely ignored and pushed aside. We are delighted that through our Women Writers’ Route they will also receive the attention they undoubtedly deserve.” The importance of the Cultural Route programme is also highlighted by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia. According to Špela Spanžel, Secretary at the Directorate for Cultural Heritage, the Ministry is convinced of the great potential of the Cultural Routes programme and of the need for multi-sectoral cooperation to create stable conditions and to promote the sustainable management of activities linking heritage and tourism, education and creativity, with an emphasis on young people and the participation of local communities.
The Women Writers Route is dedicated to women authors from the early 20th century. It aims to connect the works and lives of European women writers and present them to the public through dynamic and inspiring activities, while deepening professional, cultural and tourist research on women’s literature, as well as on the locations and life stories that have contributed greatly to shaping European values and today’s societies. “In many Slavic literatures (Polish literature being the exception in the project), women writers entered the cultural sphere only in the second half of the 19th century, and were therefore pioneers in exploring new paths, often as intercultural mediators. To use a term related to geography, since it is a cultural route, I could say that they often had to clear out a literary landscape for themselves, because no one had done it before them. The more of them there were, the more paths there were,” said Prof. Dr. Katja Mihurko Poniž, President of the Scientific Council of the Women Writers Route Association, an expert in women’s studies and a professor at the University of Nova Gorica.
Tihana Turković, President of the Programme Council of the Women Writers Route and Director of Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales in Ogulin, Croatia, pointed out that the activities designed with the support of the Programme Council will certainly contribute to the effort to ensure that the Route touches all segments of society and social life.
“Special attention is paid to important dates throughout the year: from International Women’s Day to the birthday of each of the authors, as well as to different types of events: from storytelling and drama performances to creative and educational workshops and exhibitions. It is worth noting that the activities are designed for different age groups: from preschool children, school and university students to adults, professionals and pensioners,” said Tihana Turković.
The official award ceremony will take place at the 11th Advisory Forum on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe in Crete, Greece, in October. In the future, the Women Writers Route Association will continue to intensify its activities and expand its network. Currently, the Association has 16 institutional members from 5 countries.