The Slovenia Times

Czech Author Jachym Topol Gets Vilenica Award


Topol, 52, will receive the prize, which comes with a check of EUR 10,000, at the 30th Vilenica festival, which will be held in Slovenia from 1 to 6 September.

Three of Topol's novels have been translated to Slovenian: "Sister", his 1994 debut, which is considered the best Czech novel of the 1990s, as well as "Angel" (1995) and "Through a Chilly Land" (2009).

The three novels show Topol "at his best as a writer whose style is very eloquent, imaginative, colourfully mixing highly formal language with street vernacular", chair of the jury, author Andrej Blatnik, told the STA on Wednesday.

However, this mixture does not exist for its own sake, it depicts a certain social situation, mirroring socialist repression and post-socialist depression.

The festival will revolve on "resonating space" as the main theme. Blatnik said it referred to how space influences literature.

"Where better to show that than on Kras and the poetry of Srečko Kosovel," Blatnik said about the early 20th century Slovenian modernist from the area.

Acclaimed Slovenian writer, poet and playwright Milan Jesih has been selected to be in the focus of the jubilee edition of the festival.

Jesih will appear at several festival events and US publisher Dalkey Archive Press, a long-time collaborator of Vilenica, will issue his selected poems.

The country in focus will be India. An anthology of Indian writing will be released bringing not authors writing in English but those who write in some of India's 24 official languages.

Several Indian authors will be among the 25-odd writers in attendance, as will Stefano Benni from Italy, Israeli writer of short stories Etgar Keret and Bosnian author Aleksandar Hemon.

Ivo Svetina, the head of the Writers' Association, noted that Vilenica had outgrown its Central European framework and become "one of Europe's most important literary festivals."

The festival takes the name of the Vilenica cave near its venue in the village of Lipica.

It was first held in 1987, when Slovenian poet and playwright Gregor Strniša (1930-1987) was honoured. Last year the prize went to Hungarian Laszlo Krasznahorkai.


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