The Vilenica Almanac

The central publication of the festival remains the comprehensive Vilenica Almanac, which features 10 authors from Central European and other countries. The texts are published in the original language, in Slovenian, and in English translation. Separate sections are dedicated to the Vilenica Prize Winner and to the Slovenian Author in Focus. The editor of the Almanac is Aleš Učakar.


Anthology of contemporary Austrian and German literature


The Vilenica Anthologies, Slovene Writers’ Association, 2023

The book will be published with the support of the Slovenian Book Agency, Goethe-Institut Slovenia and Österreichisches Kulturforum Laibach.

From the foreword to the anthology
By Amalija Maček, Slovenian co-editor of the anthology

The year 2023 will be marked by Slovenia’s appearance as Guest of Honor of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest book fair of its kind in the world. The guest country will be a focal point of coverage by more than 6000 journalists, and that country’s appearance is intended to promote it in a comprehensive way in the fields of literature, art, tourism and cuisine, as well as sport. Slovenia will be represented by a number of exhibitions, concerts, literary and professional events, the main venue being the Slovenian pavilion at the Fair. The pavilion is designed by Slovenian architects and will feature translations of Slovenian books into foreign languages from the last three years. Preparations for the Fair have been underway for several years and include, among other things, subsidies for translations, training for publishers and translators – the aim being to strengthen the long-term visibility of Slovenian authors both in the German-speaking world as well as globally. The number of Slovenian translations into foreign languages has increased by almost 100% since 2013. The presence of Slovenian authors in the German-speaking world has been particularly strengthened, both through translations and readings at important festivals and cultural institutions – take, for example, Anna Marwan, Nataša Kramberger, Anja Zag Golob, Aleš Šteger, and Goran Vojnović, who are already recognized authors in Germany.

The Frankfurt Book Fair is no longer simply a business fair. It is increasingly becoming a fair for meeting and getting to know each other, which is why those in charge have been emphasizing the importance of intercultural exchange in both directions since the signing of the agreement. Every year in March and August, Slovenian Book Agency hosts important German journalists and organisers of literary events. At the beginning of June, the German Academy of Language and Literature, from Darmstadt – which also awards the highest literary prize in the German-speaking world, the Büchner Prize – held its first meeting in Slovenia. Its members include the most prominent German authors, who visited Ljubljana on this occasion to present their works and to celebrate the publication of a major anthology of Slovenian poetry in German translation. The anthology has just been published by the renowned Hanser publishing house in cooperation with the Darmstadt Academy under the title “Mein Nachbar auf der Wolke” (ed. by Matthias Göritz, Amalija Maček, and Aleš Šteger).

Historically, German and Austrian literature have followed quite different paths, but today they are closely linked due to the frequent migration of authors within the linguistic area and the tendency of the leading Austrian authors to publish their works with German publishers. Historically, the German language, and therefore literature, was not welcome in Yugoslavia, and few books by German and Austrian authors found a place in the most prestigious literary collections of the time. Here we can perhaps mention the translations of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain (Janez Gradišnik, 1956), Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities (Janez Gradišnik, 1962), and Ingeborg Bachmann’s Malina (Anja Uršič, 1983). After 1991, the number of translations from German increased exponentially, probably mainly due to Slovenia’s turning towards the German-speaking area as an ally and a model (for example, in the field of law). Geographical proximity, a common past, and a somewhat similar mentality, but above all the increasing support for publishers to translate and publish the works of German authors, all contributed to the increase of the number of books. Also, perhaps to some extent, the changes in how these authors wrote were of interest to us, since after the reunification of the two Germanies they  often dealt with themes of transition. On the other hand, like Slovenian authors, they were inspired by American literature.

German and Austrian literature today are cosmopolitan, open to external influences and internal diversity, while still retaining some of the specificities of their respective places and literary traditions. That is why we have chosen them as the focus of this year’s Vilenica Festival, where we will host important German authors, literary mediators, and publish a special anthology of German-speaking authors. The texts were chosen by Andreas Unterweger, Ludwig Hartinger, and Amalija Maček, who wanted to present a varied selection of lesser-known names with most interesting and innovative writing, as well as to showcase some of the highly acclaimed and award-winning authors in Germany who, surprisingly, have not yet been translated into Slovenian. They deserve to be. One such author is Büchner Prize winner Clemens Setz; another is Esther Kinsky, an author living and writing in Friuli. The Austrian authors Anna Baar and Valerie Fritsch are also close to us, both geography- and mentality-wise. The selection of texts is translated into Slovenian by renowned translators, including Seta Knop, Mojca Kranjc, Anja Naglič, Štefan Vevar, and others.