Born in Elbasan, Albania, Luljeta Lleshanaku grew up under Enver Hoxha’s Stalinist regime. Forbidden from pursuing a higher education under his rule, she was eventually able to study at the University of Tirana. She later earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She is the author of eight poetry collections published in Albania, and four in English: Fresco: Selected Poems (New Directions, 2002); Haywire: New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2011), shortlisted for the Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation; Child of Nature (New Directions, 2010); and Negative Space (New Directions, 2018).
Lleshanaku’s work has been translated into French, Slovak, and German as well as English and appeared in journals including Grand Street and the Seneca Review. She won the International Kristal Valencia Prize, and has been awarded residences and fellowships from the University of Iowa International Writers’ Program and the Black Mountain Institute. She is currently the research director at Tirana’s Institute of Studies of Communist Genocide.