In February, 2015 English students from the University of Belgrade began meeting at nights in the American Corner to workshop original stories and poems written in English. Shortly thereafter the White City Wordsmiths was formed - a creative writing workshop headed by English language fellow Nathan William Meyer with the stated goal of promoting English as an international literary language and publishing a book the workshop’s prose and poetry.
Over the course of the spring semester of the academic year writers’ fiction was collectively workshopped, revised, edited and assembled into a polished book available in both print and e-book formats. All stages were performed by workshop members who took on real responsibilities and gained new skills in the process.
To celebrate their accomplishments the workshop held a public reading at the American Corner which featured speeches by the US embassy’s cultural affairs officer and the chair of the Faculty of Philology. This event, managed and promoted by workshop members, was an overwhelming success and left participants eager to continue the project the following academic year.
In May of 2015 members of the White City Wordsmiths traveled to Kosovo where they participated in an intercultural artistic exchange with young creative writers from the University of Pristina. This artistic exchange, organized by English language fellows Kate Mulvey (Kosovo) and Nathan William Meyer (Serbia) included a joint public reading of original works at the 2015 KETNET conference and a tour of significant historical and cultural sites, followed by a ‘writers dinner’ comprised of creative writing activities.
Supported by local US embassies, host institutions, and the Budapest RELO office this multi-day exchange resulted in success surpassing all expectations with participants repeatedly voicing their desire to hold another exchange the following year. This overwhelmingly positive cross border exchange demonstrated a deep desire among young Balkan artists for more activities such as this and further cross border collaborations, prompting Nathan William Meyer to form The Balkan Writers Project.