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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 91 | volume XVI | July-August, 2013



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 91July-August, 2013

The Self-Perception of the Macedonian Women Writers, or: I Am Not a Woman Writer

p. 1
Elizabeta Bakovska

At the beginning of her essay I Am Not a Woman Writer, the feminist theorist Toril Moi asks the question of why women and writing, i.e. women writers are nowadays such a marginal topic in the feminist theory (according to: Moi 259); then she first focuses on – in my opinion -- one of the key subsequent questions, the one that touches upon the identity issue, or the self-perception of women writers.[1] The identity issue (i.e. the answer to the question on the essence of being a woman writer, both with respect to the concept of “woman”, and with respect to the concept of “writer”) is, as said by Pamela Gerrish Nunn, a “fundamental issue”, because if women want to speak of themselves, they “have to know who they are” (Nunn, As a Woman, I Have No Country).
    The Macedonian women writers (or, the women writing in Macedonian) basically express their opinions about themselves or their writing in two ways, i.e. via two media. The first one is within their own writing, i.e. meta-textually and auto-referentially, referring to writing as such or to their role (i.e. identity) as (women) writers.[2] These reflections are most often introspective and intimate and they revolve around the well-known issue of “anxiety of authorship” or the anxiety of women writers facing doubts in their creativity. Such examples can be found with Olivera Kjorveziroska, like in her paradigmatic shot story The Woman Writer, My F(r)iend (Мојата (не)пријателка писателка), where her subject (her literary alter ego) Marija Misleva, has a “deadly fear of the Word” (Ќорвезироска, (С)плетени раскази 97-98). Metaphorically, women’s creativity in writing is also the theme of Rumena Buzharovska’s short story Scribbles (Чкртки¸ from the collection with the same title), and Lidija Dimkovska also refers to her own writing and creative process in her novel The Hidden Camera (Скриена камера).
    The second, much more symptomatic way of expressing opinions about the state of affairs with the Macedonian women’s writing is found externally, outside their literary writings, in the views expressed by women authors first of all in texts that are clearly meta-textual (criticism and essays, even theory at times), as well as in the public (popular media) discourse. The predominant self-perception with the Macedonian women writers is quite illustratively summarised by Lidija Dimkovska who says that they “are either indifferent to the concept of women’s writing or are against singling out the feminist discourse and divisions of


1. When one speaks about the issue of identity with the Macedonian women writers, one should of course bear in mind that the identity issue, especially in this context, “does not only consist of noting (being noted) of what we are, but rather, and even more, of aspiring (subjunctive mood) of what we want to be” (Шелева 53). Thus, the way in which the women writers see themselves, especially as opposed to (or within) the Macedonian (prose) canon refers both to the current state of affairs, but also to their aspirations/desires/needs for (eventually) redefining themselves and/or the canon as such.
2. Katica Kjulavkova also indicates the thin and fluid line between women’s writing and women’s meta-writing in some of her theoretical texts (according to: Ќулавкова 12-13).

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