The Slovenia Times

Publishing Issues in Focus as Book Festival Opens



"Even the periodical splendour of book fairs cannot replace tens of book-stores that have covered Slovenia, but are possibly facing shut-downs in the near future," this year's Prešeren Prize laureate stressed.

Books have lost their former importance, they have stopped being the carriers and constitutive elements of the Slovenian identity. Only few books are still the carriers of ideas that would try to shape Slovenia's future, Kavčič said.

According to him, Slovenia has been left without analytical vision of its own economic and political situation, while it is also sinking into poverty.

Touching on the recent bankruptcy of publisher Nova revija and the sale of publisher Mladinska knjiga, Kavčič stressed that the state was responsible for supporting Slovenia's culture. While commercial books are not threatened, as shown by book fairs, a country also needs to support its science and art, he added.

Meanwhile, Culture Minister Uroš Grilc wondered why Slovenians were always sceptical of change: "Do we really face the shut-down of Mladinska knjiga, the loss of all jobs and the closure of all book-stores owned by Mladinska knjiga all over Slovenia?"

He moreover wondered why there had been only so few potential buyers of Mladinska knjiga, which was sold to publisher Učila International at an auction last Thursday, and why it took so long - over one year - to find a new owner.

According to the minister, the new owner, which is known for selling mostly commercial books, must be given a chance to prove itself. Ha added that his ministry and the public Book Agency will thoroughly oversee the enforcement of the public interest and the availability of Slovenian books across Slovenia.

The opening ceremony moreover saw awards for the best short story and essay given out. The judging panel picked Neža Ambrožič's "Dan kot vsi drugi" (Day as Every Other) as the best in the former category and Nara Petrovič's "To ni nagrajeni esej" (This Is Not the Awarded Essay) in the latter.


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