Exactly 444 days ago, the Ivanaj Book Club started its journey. Today, the club is consolidated and contributes to cultural enrichment in Tirana, offering one of the most esteemed leisure activities in the city. Over the course of its tenure, the club has gone into the depths of 25 carefully curated books from both national and international literacy. Including diverse characters of over 50 members, but with the same desire in reading, the club convenes weekly on Thursdays, fostering an environment ripe for intellectual discourse and camaraderie.

Among the authors explored within the club's sessions are luminaries such as Oscar Wilde, José Saramago, Mikhail Bulgakov, Milan Kundera, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Khalil Gibran, Mario Vargas Llosa, Haruki Murakami, Marcus Aurelius, Isabel Allende, and Agatha Christie. Similarly, the club has dedicated significant attention to Albanian literary figures, engaging with the works of Sami Frashëri, Faik Konica, Martin Ivanaj, Viktor Canosinaj, Branko Merxhani, Petro Marko, Martin Camaj, Mitrush Kuteli, and numerous other celebrated authors.

However, the essence of the Ivanaj Book Club transcends mere literary analysis. It serves as a conduit for the exchange of knowledge, creation of lasting friendships, and the assimilation of diverse life experiences. In addition to book discussions, the club has organized a plethora of enriching activities ranging from picnics and painting sessions to karaoke nights and theatrical outings. Sometimes, all these are accompanied by sharing moments over glasses of wine.

Internally, the club has instituted various programs aimed at fostering critical thinking and empowering change-makers within Albanian society. Distinguished Albanian personalities including writers, researchers, journalists, professors, and societal influencers such as N. Nika, A. Dudaj, A. Baçi, V. Canosinaj, P. Leka, D. Ivanaj, A. Baro, A. Çipa, A. Muhaj, and N. Ceka have graced the club with their insights and perspectives.

Moreover, the members have undertaken the endeavor of establishing an internal bookshelf housing all the titles previously discussed, enabling each member to borrow and return books, thus perpetuating a cycle of knowledge sharing and enrichment. As part of this initiative, members are encouraged to contribute to the collection by leaving behind a book for everyone they borrow, ensuring equitable access to literary resources for all.

In the name of altruism, the club has initiated also a campaign titled "Donate a Book for the Children of Albania," aimed at collecting books from generous donors to be distributed to libraries in rural schools across the country. Schools in Cakran, Fier and Barbullush, Vau Dejes have already benefited from this initiative, with plans underway to extend support to additional educational institutions.

The overarching ambition of the Ivanaj Book Club is to propagate a culture of reading throughout Albania, fostering intellectual curiosity in every corner of the nation. By advocating for the proliferation of book clubs in libraries, parks, streets, and public spaces, the club endeavors to empower Albanian youth with the intellectual tools necessary to compete with their peers in developed nations within the European Union and beyond. Through collective effort and unwavering dedication, the Ivanaj Book Club aspires to ignite a literary renaissance that transcends borders and enriches the lives of future generations.


Klevis Begaj

Coordinator of the  Ivanaj Book Club