Vilenica International Literary Festival
The Vilenica International Literary Festival, a gathering of poets, prose writers, dramatists and essayists, is organized by the Slovene Writers’ Association. The festival takes place annually in Lipica and at other venues in Slovenia.
Since the first international festival Vilenica in1986, the climax of the event has been the presentation of the Vilenica International Literary Prize, awarded by the Slovene Writers’ Association in accordance with its statute to a Central European author for outstanding achievements in the field of literature and essay writing.
The Prize Winner is selected by the Vilenica jury, while the official presentation takes place in the impressive atmosphere of a Karst cave which gave the name to both the prize and the festival. Along with the grand Vilenica Prize, another award is presented within the festival, the Crystal Vilenica. The youngest of all Vilenica prizes is the Young Vilenica awarded by the Association of Writers from the Primorska Region and the JSKD – Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities (Regional Branch Sežana).
Featuring numerous literary and cultural events – round-table discussions, literary readings, presentations of contemporary literatures and literary publications –, the Vilenica festival usually takes place in the second week of September.
The Vilenica jury, advised by the jury consultants, selects authors from around Europe and beyond. At one of the several literary readings participants read their work, while the Vilenica Almanac features extracts of their writing in the original as well as in the Slovene and English translation. The theoretical part of the festival provides many opportunities for in-depth debates, while social events add to a relaxed atmosphere for socializing and meeting.
Based on the consultants’ proposals, the Vilenica jury selects the prize winner and the guests of the festival. The selection criteria is literary excellence and plurality in geographic, generational and generic sense.
Previous Vilenica Prize Winners:
2022 – Amanda Aizpuriete, Latvia
2021 – Josef Winkler, Austria
2020 – Mila Haugová, Slovakia
2019 – Dragan Velikić, Serbia
2018 – Ilija Trojanow, Bulgaria/Germany
2017 – Yuri Andrukhovych, Ukraine
2016 – Dubravka Ugrešić, Croatia/Nederlands
2015 – Jáchym Topol, Czech Republic
2014 – Lázsló Krasznahorkai, Hungary
2013 – Olga Tokarczuk, Poland
2012 – David Albahari, Srbija
2011 – Mircea Cărtăarescu, Romania
2010 – Dževad Karahasan, Bosnia and Herzegovina
2009 – Claudio Magris, Italy
2008 – Andrzej Stasiuk, Poland
2007 – Goran Stefanovski, Macedonia
2006 – Miodrag Pavlović, Serbia
2005 – Ilma Rakusa, Switzerland and Karl-Markus Gauß, Austria
2004 – Brigitte Kronauer, Germany
2003 – Mirko Kovač, Croatia
2002 – Ana Blandiana, Romania
2001 – Jaan Kaplinski, Estonia
2000 – Slavko Mihalić, Croatia
1999 – Erica Pedretti, Switzerland
1998 – Péter Nádas, Hungary
1997 – Pavel Vilikovsky, Slovak Republik
1996 – Adam Zagajewski, Poland
1995 – Adolf Muschg, Switzerland
1994 – Josip Osti, Bosnia and Herzegovina
1993 – Libuše Moníková, Czech Republic, Germany
1992 – Milan Kundera, Czech Republic
1991 – Zbigniew Herbert, Poland
1990 – Tomas Venclova, Lithuania
1989 – Jan Skácel, Czech Republic
1988 – Peter Eszterházy, Hungary
1987 – Peter Handke, Avstrija
1986 – Fulvio Tomizza, Italija
The Crystal Vilenica award is presented to an author featured in the Vilenica Almanac and who appears at one of the literary readings within the festival. The winner is selected by an international jury, comprised of the guests of the festival. The presentation takes place within the literary matinée at the Štanjel castle.
Former Crystal Vilenica award winners are:
2022 – Gail McConnell, Northern Ireland
2021 – Jazra Khaleed, Greece
2020 – Sibila Petlevski, Croatia
2019 – Manjola Nasi, Albania
2018 – Shota Iatashvili, Georgia
2017 – Antonella Bukovaz, Italy
2016 – Kateryna Kalytko, Ukraine
2015 – Blerina Rogova Gaxha, Kosovo and Polona Glavan, Slovenia
2014 – Liliana Corobca, Moldova
2013 – Tania Malyarchuk, Ukarine
2012 – Rumen Leonidov, Bulgaria
2011 – Dan Coman, Romania
2010 – Goran Vojnović, Slovenia
2009 – Luljeta Lleshanaku, Abania
2008 – Andrej Khadanovich, Belarus
2007 – Piotr Sommer, Poland
2006 – Mojca Kumerdej, Slovenia
2005 – Vladas Brazinas, Lithuania
2004 – Valžyna Mort, Belarus
2002 – Pál Závada, Hungary
2001 – Natalka Bilocerkivec, Ukraine
2000 – Vörös Istvan, Hungary
1999 – Angelo Cherchi, Italy
1998 – Peter Semolič, Slovenia
1997 – Nicole Müller, Switzerland
1996 – Kaća Čelan, Bosnia and Hercegovina
1995 – Marzanna Bogumia Kielar, Poland
1994 – Slavko Mihalić, Croatia
1993 – Francesco Micieli, Switzerland
1992 – Endre Kukorelly, Hungary
1991 – Grendel Lajos, Slovak Republik
1990 – Aleš Debeljak, Slovenia
1989 – Dubravka Ugrešić, Croatia
1988 – Ewa Lipska, Poland
1987 – Gregor Strniša, Slovenia
CEI Award for Young Writers
The CEI Award for Young Writers is promoted by the Central European Initiative (CEI) and the Slovene Writers’ Association (SWA) within the Vilenica International Literary Festival. In the context of the extraordinary challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEI and the SWA have decided to revise the long-standing CEI Fellowship for Writes in Residence and provide in 2021 a new concept to the initiative, launching the CEI Award for Young Writers. The Award aims at promoting the young generation of writers and supporting the circulation of their literary works through the translation in the languages of the CEI countries. The Award envisages the translation of one of the awardee’s works into Slovenian and the translation into another CEI language of the candidate’s choice.
Former recipients of CEI Award:
2022 – Luiza Bouharaoua, Croatia
2021 – Stefan Bošković, Montenegro
2020 – Yasen Vasilev, Bulgaria
2019 – Ivan Shopov, North Macedonia
2018 – Maria Paula Erizanu, Moldova
2017 – Andriy Lyubka, Ukraine
2016 – Tanja Bakić, Montenegro
2015 – Kateryna Kalytko, Ukraine
2014 – Mirko Božić, BiH
2013 – Artem Čapaj, Ukkraine
2012 – Alja Terčić, BiH
2011 – Ognjen Spahić, Montenegro
2010 – Maja Hrgović, Croatia
2009 – Dragan Radovančević, Serbia
2008 – Ivana Sajko, Croatia
2007 – Marianna Kijanovska, Ukraine
2006 – Goce Smilevski, Macedonia
Aljoša Harlamov, president of the jury
Amalija Maček, vice-president of the jury
Julija Potrč Šavli
Lindita Arapi, writer, translator / Albania / Germany
Agneszka Będkowska – Kopczyk, translator, senior lecturer at the Academy of Technology and Humanities in Bielsko-Biala / Poland
Ljudmil Dimitrov, translator, translator, editor / Bulgaria
Orsolya Gallos, translator / Hungary
Alenka Jensterle – Doležal, senior assistant for the Slovenian literature at the University of Prague / Czech Republic
Erica Johnson Debeljak, writer, translator, columnist/ Slovenia
Andreja Kalc, translator, proofreader / Slovenia
Arian Leka, writer, poet, translator, editor of the Poeteka / Albania
Valžyna Mort, poet, translator / Belarus
Klemen Pisk, writer, translator / Slovenia, Czech Republic
Kornelijus Platelis, poet, translator / Lithuania
Marjeta Prelesnik Drozg, librarian, translator / Slovenia
Ilma Rakusa, writer, lecturer at the University of Zurich / Switzerland
Judit Reiman, translator, lecturer at the University of Budapest / Hungary
Jüri Talvet, lecturer at the University of Tartu, Estonia
The Slovene Writers’ Association (hereafter DSP)
In cooperation with the Vilenica Cultural Association of Sežana (hereafter KD Vilenica)
Vilenica International Literary Festival
I Definition, Genesis and Purpose of the Festival
I.1 Definition of the festival
The Vilenica International Literary Festival (hereafter the Vilenica Festival) is organized by the Slovene Writers’ Association and the Vilenica Cultural Association and is a gathering of poets, writers, dramatists and essayists as well as editors, publishers and cultural managers and translators from Central European countries. Guests who are not from Central European countries may also be invited to the festival. In addition to the central event of the Festival, the awarding of the Vilenica International Literary Prize, there is a Theoretical Component as well as social events
I.2 The Birth of the Festival
The Vilenica Festival originated in 1986 as a writers’ gathering at which the central event was the awarding of the Vilenica International Literary Prize. Since 2005 it has been known as the Vilenica International Literary Festival. The founder and the responsible for the Festival is DSP; however, both DSP and KD Vilenica are equally responsible for generating the intellectual milieu from which the notions of the Vilenica International Literary Prize emerge.
I.3 Festival Aim
From the very start both the meeting and the Vilenica prize have been positioned in the geographical, cultural and intellectual space of Central Europe. In accordance with its mission of promoting cultural pluralism, tolerance and non-aggression, the Vilenica Festival was created in this specific location in the 1980s as a space in which literarati from both sides of the Iron Curtain could meet.
The historical events of the late 1980s and the 1990s changed the political and societal structure of Central Europe, affecting the very comprehension of this concept. Although discussion of Central Europe in the new creation of a united Europe cannot be founded on outdated political assumptions, the organizers of Vilenica believe that the debate on Central Europe remains relevant. Because of the many political affinities, the common historical lot on the one hand and the cultural diversity on the other, Central Europe will remain the creative focal point of the Vilenica Festival in future as well. As a key Central European literary forum Vilenica embraces the creating and the exchanging of quality literary in the countries of the area as well as the presenting of this literature beyond the region. The decisive tradition of the Vilenica Festival does not conform to a simplified unification of the world but rather endeavours to preserve, develop and at the same time transcend cultural specificities through understanding and dialogue.
Through the intentional focussing on the Central European space that gives Vilenica a distinctive identity on the map of similar events at the European and world level, the festival would also like to maintain interest in other cultural and artistic traditions.
The Central event of the festival is the awarding of the Vilenica International Literary Prize. The Prize, distributed by the Slovene Writers’ Association, is awarded for exceptional achievement in poetry, prose, drama, or in the essay form created in the Central European cultural space and which expresses with particular aesthetic merit the human and cultural experience of the nations from the Baltic to the Adriatic, from Bern to Belgrade. This area is as geographically bordered as it is defined by the orienting of the spirit of the Central European intellectual and artistic experience, which is marked by tolerance, non-aggression, understanding, pluralism and therefore also the integrational principle of diversity; its living artistic strength is expressed and formed in distinctly recognizable works by artists from the area. The presentation of the award takes place in the ‘Vilenica’ Karst cave in the framework of the Vilenica International Literary Festival.
In addition to the Vilenica Prize we also award the Crystal Vilenica and the Young Vilenica. The Crystal Vilenica is intended for an author who represents himself/herself in the Vilenica Almanac and at one of the literary readings. The newest of the Vilenica prizes is the Young Vilenica, which is distributed by KD Vilenica.
The Festival aims to foster a programme scheme that will continue to have a meaningful existence and ensure Vilenica’s recognizability in the face of similar events in Europe and the world.
II Festival organs
The Festival organs are:
II.1 The Vilenica Programme Director
– The Vilenica Festival is coordinated and managed by the Vilenica Programme Director in cooperation with a group of experts from the DSP.
The Vilenica Programme Director is selected by the Executive Committee of the DSP and has the following responsibilities and duties:
– To coordinate festival activities throughout the calendar year.
– To convene and lead Jury meetings.
– To convene and lead meetings of the Mixed Board.
– To prepare the Festival Programme in cooperation with Jury members, consultants and other advisors.
– To present the Programme and the financial plan of the festival to the Executive Committee of the DSP.
– To act as media liaison.
– To prepare an implementation plan for the Festival.
– To ensure that the Festival is run in a professional manner.
– To draft documentation in connection with Festival activities.
– To organize and coordinate other affairs and publications in connection with the Festival.
II.2 The Vilenica Jury and Consultants
The Vilenica Jury is composed of recognized literary experts, authors, translators and other experts from the individual literary and/or language areas of the countries of Central Europe. The President of KD Vilenica is also invited to Jury meetings, but does not have voting rights.
The Naming of the Jury
– Jury members are named by the Executive Committee of the DSP.
– Consultants, who act as advisors to the Jury, are named by the Executive Committee of the DSP at the suggestion of Jury members.
Jury Members’ Mandate
A Jury member’s mandate is for three years and is renewable. The duration of a consultant’s mandate is determined according to need.
– Jury work is coordinated by the Programme Director of the Festival.
– Jury work is carried out at regular as well as special Jury meetings.
– The Vilenica Jury elects the President of the Jury by majority vote.
– The President’s mandate is for one year.
– The President of the Jury presents the Jury’s work to the public.
– Quorum for the Vilenica Jury is reached if more than half of the members are present; if this is the case, decisions are confirmed by means of majority vote by those members who are present.
– The Vilenica Jury can work and reach decisions if at least one third of the members are present. In such cases it will be necessary to confirm decisions that have been made by means of majority vote at the next Jury meeting or through correspondence – in such cases, more than half of the members must vote, and the votes of the previous meeting must be respected.
– The Jury may suggest candidates for the Vilenica Prize if at least one third of the members are present. The decision regarding the Vilenica Prize winner must be confirmed in person or, exceptionally, through correspondence, by an absolute majority among members of the Jury. The Programme Festival Director will inform the Executive Committee of the DSP of the decision.
– The Vilenica Jury selects Festival participants while respecting the suggestions of the consultants, although the opinions of the consultants are not binding.
– The Jury cooperates in the preparation of the Theoretical Component of the festival.
– The Programme and the list of participants are to be confirmed, at the latest, three months before the start of the festival by Executive Committee of the DSP.
– Minutes regarding Jury work are carried out by the group of experts from the DSP and confirmed by the Vilenica festival Director.
– The main duty of the Jury is to select the prize-winners as well as other participants in the Vilenica festival.
– The Jury cooperates in the preparation of the Theoretical Component of Vilenica.
II.3 Jury for the Crystal Vilenica Prize
The Naming of the Jury
– Jury members for the Crystal Vilenica are selected by the Vilenica Jury
Jury members’ mandate
– The Jury members’ mandate is for the duration of the Festival
– Jury work is carried out at meetings within the Festival framework.
– The President of the Jury will be selected by the Jury for the Crystal Vilenica by means of majority vote.
– Quorum for the Crystal Vilenica Jury is reached if at least half of the members are present.
– The Jury votes by means of absolute majority.
– The Jury determines the winner of the Crystal Vilenica in an autonomous manner. It is up to the Vilenica Programme Director to make the decision public.
– The Jury President distributes the Crystal Vilenica and explains the reasons for choosing the winner.
– Jury work is presented to the public by the Jury President.
– The Jury puts together a short explanation of the prize for the media.
– The main duty of the Jury is the selection of the winner of the Crystal Vilenica.
– The Jury bases its decision on texts that have been published Vilenica Almanac
II.4 Mixed Board
Partnership cooperation between DSP and KD Vilenica is coordinated in terms of organization and realization by the 7-member Mixed Board.
The Mixed Board is composed of representatives of DSP (3 members), KD Vilenica (3 members) as well as the Programme Director of the Vilenica International Literary Festival.
The Programme Director of the Vilenica International Literary Festival coordinates the Mixed Board; the Director is selected, in accordance with its rules, by the Executive Committee of the DSP. The Mixed Board votes by means of the majority of the members present at meetings of the Mixed Board.
The Mixed Board upon the proposal of the Programme Director of the Vilenica International Literary Festival deals with and harmonizes the financial planning and the implementation plan of the events.
The Mixed Board, upon the proposal of the President of KD Vilenica or DSP, may approve the covering of possible financial deficits incurred by one of the constituent partners for individual elements of the execution of the project from the budget of the Vilenica International Literary Festival. The budget as a whole must be balanced. Regarding covering financial deficits, the Mixed Board agrees at a meeting before the execution of the project of the Vilenica International Literary Festival.
Under point IV.2, Paragraph 2, the Mixed Board is to coordinate the organizational and financial plan for the execution of the accompanying events of the project of the Vilenica International Literary Festival. The Mixed Board also approves the Programme planned by KD Vilenica under point IV.2, Paragraph 3, which will function and appear under the name Vilenica (for example, Young Vilenica).
DSP and KD Vilenica must present the DSP Executive Committee and the KD Vilenica Executive Committee with the financial plan, the Theoretical Component as well as the accompanying Programme of events the Vilenica International Literary Festival at least three months before the event.
The financial plan of the theoretical and accompanying Programme of the Vilenica International Literary Festival enters into force when it is has been dealt with by the Mixed Board and approved by the DSP Executive Committee. The DSP has responsibility and authority over the executing of the Theoretical Component.
The financial plan of the accompanying event of the project of the Vilenica International Literary Festival, as stated in the third Paragraph of point IV.2, enters into force when it is approved by the KD Vilenica Executive Board and the Mixed Board.
The Mixed Board is required to deal with complaints and suggestions of both Executive Committees; if either of these suggest changes to the Programme or the financial plan, it must express its reasons within fourteen days at the latest.
The Mixed Board, no later than 60 days after the conclusion of the main events of the Vilenica International Literary Festival and the distribution of prizes, is to prepare a complete financial report on the preparation and execution of the Theoretical Component and the accompanying events, on the basis of reports and documentation of DSP and KD Vilenica.
The DSP and KD Vilenica reports must include, as compulsory enclosures, documentation such as photocopies of original receipts as well as all contracts signed in connection with the Vilenica International Literary Festival project.
DSP is to promote KD Vilenica as co-organizer in all of its promotional material and announcements for the project of the Vilenica International Literary Festival.
KD Vilenica is to promote DSP as co-organizer in all of its promotional material and announcements for the project of the Vilenica International Literary Festival.
III The Corporate Identity of the Vilenica Festival
III.1 The Utilization of the Corporate Identity
– The logo and all design elements of the Vilenica Festival’s corporate identity are to be adhered to with consistency in all stages of execution of the Vilenica Festival.
– The organizers must include the logo of the Vilenica Festival in a manifest way in all stages of the production of the Vilenica Festival and other related events which use the name Vilenica.
– In addition to the main event – the Vilenica Festival – the logo has to be employed in a manifest way with all other events organized by constituent partners in the scope of the Vilenica Festival, as well as all events taking place year round which contain the name Vilenica, such as Young Vilenica.
IV Production of the Vilenica Festival
IV.1Location and Time of the Festival Events
The Vilenica festival usually takes place in the month of September in the Karst as well as at other venues.
IV.2 Official Languages of the Festival
The official languages of the Vilenica Festival are Slovene, German and English. Festival organizers are required to ensure translations at events as well as translations of publications into at least one of the two official foreign languages.
IV.3 The Component Elements of the Festival
The Vilenica Festival includes:
– The central event of the Vilenica International Literary Festival, in the framework of which the Vilenica International Literary Prize is awarded, with DSP preparing the Theoretical Component;
– The accompanying Programme, which takes place during the main event of the Vilenica International Literary Festival or at the same time and is prepared by DSP and KD Vilenica in cooperation and coordination with the Mixed Board;
– Programmes under the auspices of DSP and KD Vilenica (such as, for example, the Young Vilenica event), which take place all year round as the broader cultural background of the festival.
The Programme of the main and accompanying events of the Vilenica International Literary Festival project, as stated under point IV.2, Paragraphs 1 and 2, enter into force when approved by the DSP Executive Committee.
As per point IV.2, Paragraph 3, programmes organized by DSP or KD Vilenica enter into force when harmonized by the Mixed Board and approved by the DSP Executive Committee and the KD Vilenica Executive Committee respectively.
IV. 4 Organization and realization of the festival
DSP and KD Vilenica are to reach mutual agreement on the elements of organization, realization and financing of the Vilenica festival; under this agreement duties and responsibilities are to be exactly divided between the individual partners.
V Validity of the Statute
The statute enters into force on the day it is signed by the authorized representatives of the partners DSP and KUD Vilenica.
Place and Date:
Ljubljana, 8 May 2006