The Slovenia Times

Slovenia formally declared guest of honour at 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair


Frankfurt, 20 October - Slovenia was officially declared the guest of honour at the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair at an event at this year's iteration of the fair on Thursday featuring the fair's director Juergen Boos, Cultural Minister Asta Vrečko and co-curators of the project Miha Kovač and Matthias Göritz.

The officials at the press conference spoke of the diversity and importance of Slovenian culture, especially poetry, in a country with a population of only around two million that sees more than 6000 books come out a year.

Boos labelled the Frankfurt Book Fair an opportunity for small languages like Slovenian to be presented on the big stage. Although Slovenia is a young country it has a centuries-long literary tradition of high quality that has shaped not only its culture but also its history, he said.

Boos described Slovenia's present literary scene as vibrant and going beyond the country's borders, saying he was looking forward what Slovenia would show at the fair and was happy to welcome it as the 2023 guest of honour.

Minister Vrečko presented Slovenia as a creative centre for South and West Europe that hosts a number of international festivals such as Vilenica, and noted dual as the specific feature of the Slovenian language.

She mentioned the country's vibrant and diverse cultural life, especially considering the small number of Slovenian speakers, and noted that literature played an important role in critical moments in Slovenian history.

She spoke of the importance of supporting reading literacy as an important factor of social integration and individual's development and quality of life, as well as development of a sustainable society. The quality of what is being read is important and should promote critical thinking, open-mindedness, acceptance of diversity, empathy and how to accept oneself, she said.

The Frankfurt Book Fair, she said, is more than just a fair for publishers and authors, it is a place for exchanging views, and it is important that Slovenia will contribute a pebble to this mosaic next year.

Co-curator Miha Kovač stressed the importance of reading books in an age of electronic screens. He sees it as an advantage that in Europe everyone can use their our own language and celebrate it.

He said Slovenia was at the heart of Europe's diversity and one of the most biodiverse countries in Europe surrounded by different language groups. It is the different cultural and intellectual influences that have enriched the Slovenian language and culture, he said, referring to Srečko Kosovel's poem A Small Coat, which is said to hide a warm, bright world.

Kovač said that Europe enjoying a period favourable for cultural, linguistic and human diversity should not be taken for granted, and it should not be ignored that a "cold wind of history" had once again swept across Europe.

In his video message, German co-curator Göritz said Slovenia was a small country, but big on cultural creativity, especially in poetry. Like Kovač, he referred to Kosovel's poem A Small Coat, mentioning that US musician Patti Smith had chosen it as her favourite poem.

The press conference was followed by a debate with Slovenian authors Peter Svetina, Ana Marwan, Nataša Kramberger and Austrian translator Erwin Köstler.

Slovenia will officially take over the baton as the Guest of Honour of the Frankfurt Book Fair from this year's guest, Spain, on Sunday.

The programme of Slovenia as the Guest of Honour at the 2023 fair, dubbed Honeycomb of Words, is now also available at


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