The Slovenia Times

Slovenian Book Fair kicks off with focus on Europe


Vodnik, a top representative of the Enlightenment Age in what were then Slovenian lands, works well with this year's focus, Europe, Enlightenment being "the foundation of modern European culture", the organisers have said.

Europe in Focus will bring to Ljubljana a number of Europe-based authors, among them Irish Jacke Harte, German Sibylle Berg, Lukas Bärfuss, this year's winner of the Georg Büchner Prize and Jan Carson from Northern Ireland, the winner of EU prize for literature 2019.

Italian author and publisher Elisabetta Sgarbio will also be in Ljubljana, presenting her documentary set in Slovenia The Nearest Elsewhere (2017).

The fair will moreover focus on the country's eastern-most region of Prekmurje. The opening today featured one of the best known Prekmurje natives, singer and songwriter Vlado Kreslin.

Also, the Writers' Stage will feature at noon every day an author from Prekmurje: Feri Lainšček, Štefan Kardoš, Vlado Žabot, Dušan Šarotar and Suzana Tratnik.

A study about reading habits among Slovenians will be presented at the fair, and a special programme dubbed Cicifest will feature works and events for children.

Meanwhile, the opening ceremony included a keynote address by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, who said the recent lowering of the VAT rate for books and other publications from 9.5% to 5% as of 2020 was "a necessary step in a time when printed editions are losing readers and people read less and less".

Šarec is however not a pessimist as regards the future of books, arguing people will always read and teach their children about the beauty of words and the ability to express oneself.

The opening ceremony moreover saw Marko Kravos, a Slovenia writer and editor from Italy, receiving the Schwentner Award for exceptional contribution to publishing.


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