Bashkim Shehu, an Albanian writer

Molina, Víctor
Revista Literatures Núm. 0 1997

The International Parliament of Writers was set up in 1994, on the initiative of three hundred writers from the five continents, in order to try and find an answer to attacks on freedom and creativity. Since it was founded, it pledged itself to the creation of a City Refuge Network, of which Barcelona is a member.
The Albanian writer Bashkim Shehu is in Barcelona, invited there in April, 1997, as part of the aforementioned programme. When he was twenty-two he published his first collection of short stories, in which he dealt with one of the main themes in his work: time. His other great structural theme is power, with fascist totalitarianism being linked to the Communist regime.
Towards the end of 1981 his father, who had, until then, been the second most important man in the Albanian regime, died in mysterious circumstances. From that moment on, Bashkim Shehu and the rest of his family were systematically persecuted: he was condemned to ten years in jail, but - with the advent of democracy in his country - was released three months afterwards.
In his autobiographical novel The Autumn of Fear, Shehu has created both a critique of his father and a critique of the murderers of his family. Eye-witness realism and parable are juxtaposed in a symbiosis which brings him closer to the truth he seeks. Shehu is, above all, a man who is dedicated to the free use of the written word. And it is due to this dedication that he has contributed to the opposition press and has been active in the support of human rights, as a member of the Albanian Helsinki Committee. Difficult and brilliant, Bashkim's work is an example of how to turn facts into terrible parables.