Skip to main content

39. Slovenian Book Fair - A word to the word

The Slovenian Book Fair, thematically entitled Word to Word, opened its doors to visitors on 21 November. Books and other publications were exhibited by all major Slovenian publishing houses on more than 2000 square metres, and more than 260 events were held at various venues over the course of a week.

A book at the heart of the cultural awareness of Slovenians

As expected, the fair was strongly influenced by Slovenia's recent successful appearance as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Nataša Pirc Musar, also recalled Slovenia's visit to Frankfurt, saying that Slovenian literature and culture had shown itself in all its breadth. She thanked all those responsible for the successful presentation.

She said that the Slovenian Book Fair was not far behind the larger Frankfurt Book Fair in terms of its importance for the Slovenian book market, as it had developed into one of the most important book events, not only because of the many new titles that publishers offer to visitors every autumn, but also because of the accompanying debates and literary events. This is also borne out by the more than 45,000 visitors last year.

1 / 3

Consolidating identity through language

Slovenia bases its identity on its language, which is closely linked to Primož Trubar and his first printed book in Slovene, published in 1550. Great Slovenian writers such as Boris Pahor, Vitomil Zupan, Drago Jančar, Maja Haderlap, Dušan Šarotar and others speak of the times and of solidarity, love, resistance and the suffering of the people of a time.

In the age of digitisation, many at the fair called for a return to the classic, printed book, which was highlighted in Frankfurt with the Ljubljana Manifesto on Reading at a Higher Level. The Slovenian Book Fair is trying to do just that - to bring the printed book closer to readers in the digital age.

Šoštanj was a guest city, as the fair was also dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of the poet Karel Destovnik - Kajuh, and various publications about the poet were presented. This year, the 39th edition of the The 39th Slovenian Book Fair, organised by the Chamber of Book Publishers and Booksellers at the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was hosted by Serbia, which will be the focus of the 50 50 exhibition, dedicated to Serbian translations into Slovenian and Slovenian translations into Serbian.

1 / 3

Several prizes were awarded during the fair

This year's Schwentner Prize for significant contribution to the development of publishing and bookselling was awarded by the Chamber of Publishers and Booksellers to Miha Kovač, a professor from the library science department of the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, also for his contribution to the presentation of Slovenia in Frankfurt. As the award was justified, Kovač proves that Slovenian publishing and book publishing is the foundation for a free, democratic and reflective future.

Several other prizes were awarded during the fair. In cooperation with the Slovene Writers' Association, the prize for the literary debut of the year was awarded. The award for the best literary debut of this year's 39th Slovenian Literary Festival. Pia Prezelj for her novel Težka voda / Heavy Water, published by Goga. The jury chose her from among three nominated works. The award for the most beautifully designed book was also announced, as well as the award for the best business book with the Manager's Association.

At the Slovenian Book Fair (SKS), the publishing house VigeVageKnjige presented the Golden Pear Award-winning children's comic Tik je šel v gozd po drva (Tik went to the forest to get firewood), signed by Ram Cunta and Miha Ha. In a conversation with Eva Ule, they talked about the creation of the book, which, according to the award jury, represents an important contribution to the development of Slovenian comic art. Simon Chang's Shepherds and the Slaughterhouse won two awards at the fair, the Best Designed Book for Adults and the Best Designed Book 2023. The book was designed by the award-winning Anja Delbello and Aljaž Vesel from Studio AA.

The Publishing Academy offered an insight into copyright sales and entry into international markets, as well as cooperation with foreign publishers. Among other things, a selection of illustrations from the 14th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration is also on display.

Author: Vesna Žarkovič

Date: 23. November 2023

Time to read: 3 min