Gjekë Marinaj

Gjekë Marinaj ( born May 26, 1965 in Brrut, Circle Malësia e Madhe, Albania ) is an Albanian- American poet, writer, translator and literary critic. He currently lives in the United States. Marinaj was first president of the Association of Albanian- American writer, founded in 2001, and has published a number of works in poetry and prose, but also made a name with his literary criticism. His work has won several awards.

Life and career

Marinaj was born in 1965 in the remote, mountainous region Malësia e Madhe in northern Albania. First published in publications by him in local newspapers in Shkodra. After that, he was able to publish in some national publications such as Albanian Zëri i Rinisë ( " The Voice of the Youth" ), Luftëtari ( " The Fighter " ), Vullnetari ( " The volunteers " ) and Drita ( "The Light "). In August 1990, Marinajs anti- communist, satirical poem titled Horses ( Albanian Original Title: Kuajt ) was published. Since he his just before standing arrest by the State Security Sigurimi was aware he escaped on 12 September 1990 at night through the mountains to Yugoslavia. " Since he had seen other poets who were hanged in the center of the city that they had expressed similar remarks about freedom and liberation to Marinaj was aware that he had to leave the country immediately. He grabbed some of his favorite books, told his friends and his family that he was going on vacation, and began an eight- hour-long hike through the mountains bish to Yugoslavia. "

Two weeks after his arrival in Podgorica ( Montenegro today ), he was transferred to Serbia, where he Padinska Skela, a refugee camp near Belgrade, lived for a few months. Later, he landed at the Hotel Avala, a former tourist resort, which had been converted by the United Nations in a refugee camp. He worked as an electrician in telecommunications and learned in his spare Serbian.

After a few months he was able to emigrate to the United States. After he had first lived in July 1991 in San Diego, he moved six months later on to Richardson, Texas. While he built his new life in the United States, Marinaj worked as a freelance journalist for the Albanian media. His works include interviews with President George HW Bush, Shimon Peres, and the footballer Pelé.

In 2001 Marinaj founded the Association Albanian -American writer and acted until 2009 as its president.

In addition to his training in Albania Marinaj in 2001 won his Associates Degree in Science at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch. He continued his studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he received his bachelor's degree in literature in 2006 with magna cum laude, and his Master's degree in the same subject in 2008. Three years later he was certified for his study of the Holocaust from the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies.

In 2012, the University of Texas at Dallas Marinaj awarded the doctorate for his dissertation entitled " Oral Poetry in Albanian and Other Balkan Cultures: Translating the Labyrinths of Untranslatability ". In it, he discusses the history and philosophy of orally given poetry in the Balkans and translation theory.

Marinaj teaches since 2001 including English and Communication Studies at Richland College.


Marinaj published several works in the field of poetry, journalism and literary criticism. His three anthologies of poems are më Mos ik larg ( reliance not me) Infinit (Infinity) and Lutje në yields e tetë të Javes (prayer on the eighth day of the week ). He also has a book of interviews of different authors, titled Ana tjetër e pasqyrës secretion (the other side of the mirror ), a book of selected articles and short stories entitled Ca gjëra nuk mouth të mbeten ( Some things can not be kept secret ) and a literary critical book entitled Protonizmi: Created: nga teoria në PRACTITIONER ( from theory into practice Protonismus ).

" Horses"

Marinaj poem called "Horses " was released on August 19, 1990 in Albanian newspaper Drita. The satirical comment is not about Pferder, but from the social and political conditions and the Albanians who were rounded up and detained by the oppressive communist leadership. Both nationally and internationally led the publication of the poem to surprising reactions. " During the morning all copies of Drita throughout the country were sold out, but the word of mouth spread quickly as before. Those who were able to get a sheet, copied the text on scraps of paper and gave it to strangers on. Other recited the poem passersby on the street. The whole country was completely excited about the text of the young unknown author. "

Marinajs words were " an inspiration for freedom and have helped to defeat communism in Albania. " Months later sang the poem demonstrators during protests against the government.


According to the Dallas Morning News Marinaj trying to promote with his Protonismustheorie peace and positive thinking through literary criticism. The Protonismustheorie based on the idea that there are strong and weak points in each literary work, but that may affect the personal interests and inclinations of a critic, how much focus is placed on each of these points. Marinaj founded the Protonismustheorie in 2005 in response to the flood of overly negative criticism within academic circles in Eastern Europe following the collapse of communism. His response was the development of Protonismus to provide a common basis, the critics are the ability to analyze a literary work from a more objective point of view. The Protonismus follows five key principles: truth, research, restitution, Protonismiotik and ethics.


Marinaj worked as guest editor of Translation Review and has several English-language books translated into English from Albanian into Albanian and two. These translations include, among other things, a collection of Albanian oral epic poetry ( with Frederick Turner). In addition, he has revised more than a dozen books in both languages.


Marinaj is the recipient of Pjetër Arbnori Prize for Literature in 2008, which is awarded by the International Cultural Centre, a division of the Albanian Ministry of Culture.

From the National Media Group Tirana he received in 2011 the Albanian BookerMan Prize for Literature.