The 29th Vilenica International Literary Festival, organised by the Slovene Writers’ Association and the Vilenica Cultural Society in Sežana, will once again host the best authors and literatures from Central Europe and the rest of world. The festival week will take place between 2 and 7 September 2014, with accompanying events in May, June and August.
Over 20 languages and voices of more than 30 authors from Europe and other countries of the world will be heard at this year’s Vilenica Festival. Events accompanying the publication of the Anthology of Contemporary Luxembourgian Literature Hällewull (A Whole Heap) and the Anthology of Contemporary Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Literature in Slovenia Iz jezika v jezik (From Language to Language) will take place in Ljubljana and Maribor during the month of May. On 21 June 2014, the Young Vilenica Prize will be presented to the youngest poets in the Vilenica Cave in the Karst region of Slovenia. The main festival programme will take place during the first week of September with events in Ljubljana, Sežana, Lipica, Maribor, Celje, Koper, Trbovlje, Bilje, Štanjel, Pliskovica, Lokev, Tomaj, Repen, Treiste and the Vilenica Cave.
2014 Vilenica Honourees and the Slovene Author in Focus
This year’s festival will be headlined by the recipient of the 2014 Vilenica International Literary Prize, the Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai. The Vilenica Festival thus joins critics from the USA and Japan who acknowledge the importance of his works and crown him as the contemporary Hungarian master of apocalypse.
This year’s Slovene Author in Focus is writer and director Marko Sosič, whose innovative poetic stories about the multicultural environment of Trieste raise universal questions about an individual’s fate.
An international jury composed of notable Vilenica Festival guests will select the recipient of theCrystal Vilenica prize from among Central European authors whose work will be featured in the Vilenica Almanac, and who will appear at literary readings during the festival. The prize will be awarded at the Štanjel Matinee. At the 29th Vilenica Festival, the Central European Initiative (CEI), in cooperation with the Slovene Writers’ Association, will award the CEI Fellowship for Writers in Residence for the 9th year running. The fellowship is aimed at encouraging literary endeavours and supporting author exchange programmes for young writers from Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine.
From Language to Language
Each year a particular festival topic is chosen to facilitate a constructive dialogue about current questions concerning literature, culture and society. In accordance with its mission, the Vilenica Festival promotes cultural pluralism, tolerance and non-violence. This year’s festival will continue to focus on the topic of Central European cultural, linguistic and geographic influences. The previous year, the festival observed challenges faced by literature due to changes in geographically and politically determined borders. The 29th edition of the festival will attempt to make another step towards understanding the supranational literary occurrences triggered by migration, the globalisation of cultures and ideas and language, which remains the key orientation factor in the cultural environment in which an individual lives and creates. The central roundtable of the festival under the auspices of the Central European Initiative will be titled From Language to Language. The moderator Erica Johnson Debeljak will be asking questions about the literary language, and the identity and status of the authors, who are spread between two or more homelands that differ both in terms of language and national character. What kind of choices do ‘multilingual’ and ‘hybrid’ writers have to make regarding the use of language? How do these choices affect their inner, creative essence and their manner of articulating? How does the decision to settle on a particular language or the notion of mixed identity respectively influence their style of writing and their choice of topic? How are they perceived by their community, by institutions and readers? These questions will be answered by: Marica Bodrožić, who grew up in Dalmatia and Herzegovina. She has lived in Germany since the age of 10 and writes in her ’other’ native language of German; Stanislava Repar, a Slovak-Slovene poetess, writer and translator, literary critic, scholar, editor and publisher who masterfully transitions between two languages – Slovak and Slovene; and Roman Simić Bodrožić, a multi-award winning poet, writer, Hispanist, editor at the Fraktura Publishing House and director of the international Croatian Festival of the European Short Story from Zagreb (some of his works have also been translated into Slovene, such as V kaj se zaljubimo (With What We Fall in Love), V.B.Z. 2007; and Kraj, na katerem bova prenočila (Where We Shall Spend the Night), Apokalipsa 2004).
The Vilenica festival will also feature the presentation of the Anthology of Contemporary Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Literature in Slovenia Iz jezika v jezik (From Language to Language), which includes the best contributions of authors, who either write in their native language exclusively or in their native language as well, with the featured languages being: Hungarian, Italian, Romani, Slovak, Macedonian, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and English. The texts were selected by Lidija Dimkovska; the editor-in-chief of the anthology; the assistant editors and participants of the training course for cultural managers and editors supported by the European Social Fund. The anthology represents the answer to a lasting demand for highlighting and introducing contemporary intercultural literature into the Slovene literary realm, and infusing it with rich literary voices. The 29th Vilenica Festival will host readings by a number of authors featured in the anthology.
The literary readings are a staple of the Vilenica Festival programme. This year, audiences will be treated to performances of the following acclaimed literary guests: Fiston Mwanza Mujila – a poet, playwright and essayist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who writes in both French and German and currently resides in Graz; Jaroslav Rudiš – a novelist, writer of graphic novels, playwright and writer of radio plays who lives between Germany and the Czech Republic, and writes in the languages of both countries; Ivana Dobrakovova – a Slovak prose writer who lives and works in Turin, Italy. Her works have also been inspired by the time she had spent as a student in Ljubljana; Asko Künnap – an Estonian poet, publisher, graphic designer and developer of board games who refers to himself as a synthesis between a poet and an artist. He also writes about the Cafés spread along the river banks of Ljubljana; Ivan Antić – a Serbian writer who has been living and working between Ljubljana and Belgrade since 2010; Tone Peršak – a Slovenian writer and nominee for the Slovenian Kresnik prize for literature for the year 2014; Gabriela Babnik – a multi-award winning Slovenian writer who herself represents a bridge between the cultures of Slovenia and Africa. The pre-opening events of the Vilenica Festival will feature literary readings by Andrej Nikolaidis – a Bosnian-Montenegrin writer, columnist and activist (whose novel Mimesis was also translated into Slovene by Aleš Čar and published by the Študentska založba Publishing House in 2006); and Alek Popov – a Bulgarian writer (the translation of whose novel Mission London (Misija London) into Slovene by Eva Šprager will be published by the Cankarjeva založba Publishing House in 2014). In cooperation with the Toronto International Festival of Authors, Vilenica will play host to Linda Spalding and Patrick deWitt, both esteemed recipients of the prestigious Canadian Governor General’s Award. In cooperation with the Irish Cúirt festival of Galway, Vilenica will also bid welcome to the Greek-Canadian poetess Dimitra Xidous from Dublin. This year’s Vilenica Festival will see the return ofArtem Chapeye, the recipient of the 2013 CEI Fellowship for Writers in Residence. Moldova will be represented by writer Liliana Corobca, whose research work is focused on the topics of the Romanian war novel, expatriates and exiles, and censorship during the communist era. Macedonia will be represented by writer, playwright, screenwriter, theatre and film critic, and media theoristTomislav Osmanli. Romania will be represented by Ioana Pârvulescu, a winner of the 2013 European Union Prize for Literature. Albania will be represented by Visar Zhiti, the country’s former Minister of Culture and one of the most influential Albanian poets whose life and work reflect the history of the Albanian people. Serbia will be represented by Enes Halilović, a storyteller, poet, playwright, journalist and founder of the Sanapress press agency and the Sentliterary magazine. Hungary will be represented by writer, poet and translator János Lackfi, a recipient of the most important national awards for poetry and contributions to Hungarian culture. Last but not least, Greece will be represented by poetess, essayist and translator Elsa Korneti, who also organizes poetry slams and performance poetry events. Due to its prestigious ranking among European literary festivals, the Vilenica International Literary Festival represents a fertile setting for cultural exchanges between authors and literary mediators. Guests of the festival will feature publishers, translators and festival directors from countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey, Canada, the USA and many more.
Luxembourg at Vilenica
The 29th Vilenica Festival will pay homage to the literature of Luxembourg, which is not written exclusively in the official languages of the duchy – Luxembourgian, German and French – but also in English as well as in the languages of the local immigrants. The festival will see the unveiling of 9th volume of the Vilenica Anthologies series titled Hällewull, which means “a whole heap of something” in Luxembourgian, hinting that confusion may arise should too many people or things pile up. The Anthology of Contemporary Luxembourgian Literature includes contributions by 21 male and female authors, representatives of the “Luxemburgensie” (creators of Luxembourgian literature), which are lesser known in the Slovenian realm. The number of featured authors, as Vesna Kondrič Horvat – chief editor of the anthology emphasises in the foreword, does not cause any confusion, but rather stands for a heap of versatile voices. The festival events accompanying the publication of the book will feature the most prominent Luxembourgian literary names. At back to back readings in May in Maribor (21 May) and Ljubljana (22 May), Vilenica will bid welcome to Jean Back – a winner of the 2010 European Union Prize for Literature – who is also the director of the Luxembourg National Institute for Film, Photography and Sound. The Vilenica Festival week will feature readings by four other Luxembourgian writers: the poet, prose writer, writer of plays for theatre and radio, and co-editor of the anthology Guy Helminger, who found his other home in Cologne; the writer Pol Sax, who writes in German and resides in Germany as well; the poet, novelist, playwright and librettist Nico Helminger; and the poetess and prose writer Alexandra Fixmer, who writes in French.
Literature and Music
Vilenica will host the 12th International Comparative Literature Colloquium, which will focus on observing the contact and intersection points between literature and music, and attempt to highlight them by means of an interdisciplinary approach based on a combination of musicological and comparatist analyses. The colloquium will take place between 5 and 6 September 2014 and will feature experts from Slovenia, the Netherlands, Croatia, Serbia, Austria and Romania. The distinguished guests of the Vilenica festival will also participate at the colloquium and share their views and approaches regarding the main topic of discussion.
Publications of the Vilenica Festival
The festival will accompany the issuing of other publications in addition the traditional Vilenica almanac (Vilenica 2014), beginning with the English edition of the novel Balerina, balerina (Ballerina, Ballerina) by Marko Sosič; translated into English by Maja Visenjak Limon; published by the American Dalkey Archive Press. The Slovene Literature Series published by the aforementioned will be expanded with English translations of works by Andrej Blatnik (Law of Desire; translated by Tamara M. Soban), Drago Jančar (The Tree with No Name; translated by Michael Biggins) and Tomaž Šalamun (Soy Realidad, translated by Michael Thomas Taren). The Vilenica Collection published by the Cankarjeva založba Publishing House will be included with a new edition in the form of the Slovene translation of last year’s Vilenica Prize winner Olge Tokarzcuk’s novel Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych (Drive Your Plough Through the Bones of the Dead), translated into Slovene by Jana Unuk under the title Pelji svoj plug čez kosti mrtvih.