27th Vilenica International Literary Festival

5 – 9 September 2012

27. Vilenica International Literary Festival organized by the Slovene Writers’ Association in collaboration with the Cultural Centre Vilenica from Sežana will take place from 5 to 9 September 2012.

Literary Programme

In 2012, the Vilenica Festival launches a new theme entitled Crossroads of European Literature. During its history, which spans more than a quarter of a century, Vilenica has namely evolved into one of the premier European festivals, hosting authors, translators, literary agents, publishers, as well as readers from different parts of the world. Thus, it represents some sort of a crossroads of numerous creative paths, facilitating vibrant exchanges and the creation of literary works, while also enriching the environment in which it unfolds – the Karst, the coastal region of Primorska with the rest of Slovenia, and the abroad.

This year, Nomadic writers are set at the centre of this broader theme. These are writers and poets, who work and create abroad for various reasons, sometimes even in languages, which are not their native tongue. Such authors are, for example, Bekim Sejranović, who lives in Oslo; the Bulgarian writer Dimitré Dinev, who lives in Vienna; Zineb El Rhazoui, who currently resides in Ljubljana; Paul Muldoon, who is based in the USA; and others.  The reasons for departure and deciding to live abroad are changing nowadays, as is the so-called nomadic life, since the national identity has lost its paramount status among the identities, which we apply on a daily basis.

Literary readings by more than 30 authors from all across the world will, of course, be the focal point of the festival’s events, which will take place from 4 to 9  September 2012. The authors we would like to mention particularly are this year’s Vilenica Prize winner David Albahari, and the Slovene writer in focus Boris A. Novak. The festival is complemented by the recently conducted guest reading by Amos Oz (March 2012) which was organized in collaboration with the Mladinska knjiga Publishing House, and by an additional presentation of two translations of last year’s Vilenica Prize winner Mircea Cărtărescu’s works into Slovene – of which Zakaj ljubimo ženske(De ce iubim femeile / Why We Love Women) has already been published by the Študentska založba Publishing House, while a volume of his selected poetry translated into Slovene is set to be published by the Cankarjeva založba Publishing House in the near future.


New Features at This Year’s Festival

This year marks the first time that we will be holding three writing and translation residencies, with cordial invitations to be issued to Irish and Italian authors and translators in particular. The residencies will take place during the month of August. Since our distinguished guests will be accommodated in Ljubljana, Kranj, and Bled, they will be provided with a focused working environment as well as many opportunities to become acquainted with Slovenia and Slovenian literature. Through this, we endeavour to reinforce the role of the festival with regard to facilitating experience exchange.

That Vilenica is truly evolving into a crossroads of European literatures or even literatures from all across the world; and thus turning into an apt environment for promoting Slovenian literature on a broader scale; is evident from the Slovenian Literature’s Marketplace programme section – a literature-oriented gathering, to which we invite foreign publishers,  agents, and translators in order to acquaint them with Slovenian literature, publishing houses, and institutions promoting translations and the publishing of our literature abroad. This year, the Slovenian Literature’s Marketplace will host 10 guests from different parts of Europe; with particular focus on Italy and Spain.


The Theoretical Part: Nomadic Writers

Iva Kosmos, a journalist at the Dnevnik daily newspaper and literary publicist, will discuss this year’s main topic with four guests, who, for various reasons, write abroad or/and in a language that is not their native tongue. They are: Maja Haderlap, a Carinthian-Slovene author, who recently struck fame in the German-speaking world with her novel Engel des Vergessens (Angel of Oblivion), which she wrote in German; Zineb El Rhazoui, who was forced to leave her native country of Morocco due to political persecution and seek refuge in Ljubljana; Dimitré Dinev, a Bulgarian author living and working in Vienna, who is recognised today as one of the most successful contemporary Austrian prose writers; and this year’s Vilenica Prize winner David Albahari, who has lived and worked in Canada since emigrating from Serbia during the 1990s. Are thus national borders really the key determinants of the literary world that stipulate or signify the supposed characteristics of creating abroad and/or in a foreign language? What problems and/or kinds of success does a contemporary “nomadic writer” encounter on his or her respective creative path? All of these questions will be addressed and discussed during the Central European Initiative Round Table at Vilenica 2012.

In addition to the aforementioned CEI Round Table, the festival will also play host to the 10th International Comparative Literature Colloquium. This year, it is entitled The Spatial Turn in Literary Studies. Marijan Dović, PhD and Jernej Habjan, PhD will moderate the colloquium.


The Vilenica Festival Awards

The Vilenica International Literary Prize presentation ceremony – the highlight of the Vilenica Festival, will take place on Saturday, 8 September 2012, in the Vilenica Cave. In addition to the grand prize, the following awards will also be presented at the Vilenica Festival:

The Crystal Vilenica Award, which will be presented to a writer, whose work will be selected by an international jury composed of guests at the festival as the best literary contribution featured in the Vilenica 2012 almanac. In addition to the Crytsal Vilenica Award and an original statuette by academic painter Peter Abram, the winner will also receive the opportunity to attend the distinguished Cúirt Festival of Literature in the Irish town of Galway. As part of the author’s exchange programme between the two festivals, a selected Irish author will be hosted as a guest of the Vilenica Festival in return.

The Young Vilenica 2012 Award; the “youngest” of the awards featured at the festival; will be presented on 26 May 2012 by the Vilenica Cultural Society. The recipients of the award will read their decorated poems as part of the Literary Matinée at Štanjel Castle.


CEI Fellowship for Writers in Residence

In collaboration with the Slovene Writers’ Association, the Central European Initiative (CEI) annually presents the CEI Fellowship for Writers in Residence, seeking to promote literary endeavours by young writers and to encourage cross-border cooperation and exchanges of young authors from Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, and the Ukraine. This year’s rendition of the festival will also feature a reading by last year’s recipient of the CEI Fellowship for Writers in Residence, Ognjen Spahić.


Hebrew Literature at Vilenica

This year’s book of the Vilenica Anthologies will feature an anthology of contemporary Hebrew literature, entitled En zo agadá (This Is not a Fairytale). In the book, the editor of the anthology and translator from the Hebrew Dr. Klemen Jelinčič Boeta portrays the evolution of modern literature in the Hebrew language which emerges from intertwining national traditions and the tumultuous history of the state of Israel. The anthology features the following authors: A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, David Grossman, Sami Michael, Meir Shalev, Yoram Kaniuk, Eli Amir, Etgar Keret, Zeruya Shalev, Ronit Matalon, Alona Kimhi, Dorit Rabinyan, Leah Goldberg, Dalia Ravikovitsch, Yona Volach, Nurit Zarchi, Agi Mishol, Hava Pinhas-Cohen, Sharon Hass, Nathan Alterman, Amir Gilboa, Yehuda Amichai, Amir Or, Ronny Someck, and Daniel Oz.

The anthology was already hinted at by Amos Oz visiting Ljubljana and Maribor, where he unveiled the Slovene translation of his novel A Tale of Love and Darkness (Zgodba o ljubezni in temini). The translated novel will be presented again on 31  May 2012, at the Maribor Synagogue, with readings by Klemen Jelinčič Boeta and Dušan Šarotar. The event will be hosted by Gašper Troha. Additional presentations of the translated book are scheduled to take place on 4 September and on 7 September 2012, as part of the Vilenica Festival itself.


Crossroads of European Literature

The Vilenica Festival was once again successful in obtaining co-funding within the EU’s Culture Programme (2007 – 2013). With the Crossroads of European Literature project, the Vilenica Festival successfully applied for both the “Cooperative measures” tender as well as for the “Support to European cultural festivals” tender this year. This proves that the festival has truly gained international importance and has become recognised for its level of quality, which we aspire to maintain and raise with each and every year, both in the eyes of the Slovene audience and internationally.

We are embarking on the Crossroads of European Literature project in collaboration with the Cúirt International Festival of Literature and with the Italian Pordenonelegge Literary Festival. Based on the second sub-category under the “Cooperation measures” strand within the EU’s Culture Programme (2007 – 2013) which regulates both funding eligibility and the funding amount for projects lasting over a maximum period of two years.