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FABULA 2020 – the 17th Festival of World Literatures

Author: Katja Križnar

Date: 28. February 2020

Time to read: 2 min

From 28 February to 8 March, Cankarjev dom Culture and Congress Centre in Ljubljana, the largest home of culture in Slovenia, will once again host the Fabula Festival of World Literatures. Every year, the festival attracts the most notable authors of world literature.

The organisers of the festival proudly list some of the famous names the Fabula Festival has hosted so far: Herta Müller, Irvin Welsh, Hanif Kureish, David Grossman, Janice Galloway, Richard Flanagan, Tatjana Tolstoj and Eric Vuillard to name only a few.

The Fabula Festival has hosted more than 120 foreign authors over 17 years

Slovenians love the Fabula Festival. It is the most notable literary festival in Slovenia and one of the most significant ones of the region. It was founded in 2003. In its 17 years of existence, more than 120 foreign authors have participated in the various sections of the festival, says Manca G. Renko, artistic director of the festival.

The concept of the festival has been continuously evolving and improving. Today, it is based on elaborate curatorial work, each year striving to select those authors whose work has made the biggest mark on world literature in recent years, while also inviting authors who are already considered as classics to Ljubljana. The festival is organised under the auspices of the Beletrina publishing house.

Selection of the best literary voices

Manca G. Renko: "I try to invite authors that are already well-known and read by the Slovenian readership, while also placing importance on presenting new and fresh literary voices that are not yet represented in Slovenia despite being renowned worldwide. Judging by the sales of the Fabula Festival books, the Slovenian readership is not conservative. If they have the opportunity to reach for a new book, they will gladly take it, they just need an opportunity to do so. Several times in the past, we actually sold more books by authors whose works were translated into Slovenian for the first time than by those already well-known by the Slovenian public. My most important rule is: never underestimate the public."

As usual, Ljubljana will host five authors this year. Readers will have the opportunity to enjoy the presentations of the cult German author Bernhard Schlink, the Croatian author Kristian Novak, the Swedish author Sara Stridsberg, the Canadian author Sheila Heti and the French author Édouard Louis.

"Bernhard Schlink and Kristian Novak are already well-recognised and accepted by the Slovenian readership, while Édouard Louis, Sheila Heti and Sara Stridsberg are world renowned authors whose works will be translated into Slovenian for the first time under the Fabula Festival. I think it's great that we can make people happy by bringing them what they already like, while also introducing them to something new they might like," adds Manca G. Renko.

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Theoretical focus

In addition to the literary focus, the Fabula Festival also has a theoretical one that brings a current social issue to the forefront every year. The common thread of his year's festival is the issue of power – from economic, sexual and emotional to societal, geographical and ethnic power.

The Power of the City, the City of Power will be at the heart of the theoretical debate.

Short presentations and a round table will be held to introduce the American design and urbanism theorist Keller Easterling, the German-American writer Elvia Wilk and the Australian writer Simon Sellars.


The Fabula Festival events are free of charge

Most of the events at the Fabula Festival are free of charge. All the books published as part of the festival collection are available as paperbacks for the price of 10 euros.

Cankarjev dom will not be the only venue hosting the literary events. "Kristian Novak will also appear in the Slovenian National Theatre Nova Gorica, while other events will be held at several venues across Ljubljana: Pritličje, Vodnikova domačija, the Sunday flea market at Breg and Edvard to name a few," says Manca G. Renko and warmly invites us to come.


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