Book agency head says preparations in full swing for 2023 Frankfurt fair

Ljubljana – The Slovenian Book Agency (JAK) signed a EUR 4.5 million contract in August to finance Slovenia’s participation in the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair from cohesion funds, JAK’s acting director Dimitrij Rupel told the newspaper Delo on Saturday.

“The sum is quite big, some EUR 4.5 million for three or now only two years, which we have to use in line with the strict conditions set down in the cohesion contract.”

JAK is currently working on a selection of books and writers that will be put forward to German publishers, who will make the final selection for when Slovenia is the guest of honour at the fair.

The selection must be reliable and at the same time have consideration for the market for which the books are intended, said Rupel, who has led the agency since June.

The plan is to present at the fair some 100 books translated into German and to put some of the authors in the focus.

“I think it is logical to expect Slavoj Žižek and Drago Jančar among them, to be accompanied by Slovenian classics such as Vitomil Zupan and Boris Pahor.

“We’ll certainly put in the focus what Germans already partly know and we will of course try to present something new,” said Rupel, a former foreign minister and an author himself.

Some 50 books have already been shortlisted and Rupel expects most of them to make the final list.

JAK will then send the proposal to the agency Heinekomm, but will have no say in the final selection, which is up to German publishers.

He said Slovenian curator Amalija Maček, who resigned in May for health reasons, has been replaced by Igor Grdina, a researcher who holds a PhD in Slovenian literary history. The other curator is German author Matthias Göritz.

Rupel also announced a book about Slovenia, or “a manual”, would be featured at the fair, and Mitja Okorna would make a film about Slovenian-German relations.