Tribute Paid to Writer Pahor Before His 100th Birthday

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A series of speakers paid tribute to Pahor at the Cankarjev dom arts centre at a symposium organised by the publishing house Mladinska knjiga as just one in a number of events in the run up to 26 August when Pahor celebrates his centennial.

The publisher will mark the jubilee with the launch of a book entitled "Tako živim" (The Way I Live), which will reminiscence on the events the writer experienced and survived.

Growing up in Trieste, he witnessed the persecution of Slovenians by the Fascists before WWII, was imprisoned by the Nazis during the war and was banned from entering Slovenia by the Communists after publishing an interview in which fellow writer Edvard Kocbek spoke about summary post-war killings.

Despite his hard life, Pahor "has remained as he was, in his own way and on his own path, which is unrepeatable" chairman of Mladinska knjiga Založba Peter Tomšič said, adding that Pahor still had much to tell to contemporary readers and was still surprising them.

Rising from the audience, Pahor said that he was in a way embarrassed witnessing an event dedicated to him and his work. "Such events happen when a writer is gone. Everything is so amiss in my life that this is amiss too," he said.

Chairman of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) Jože Trontelj praised Pahor's courage and his upright and uncompromising stature, which he said contributed to a righteous condemnation of moral delusions of 20th century totalitarianisms.

The words echoing from his works are "I accuse", the stories are a reminder of what happens when ideology merges with the desire for power, the academician said, adding that Pahor's writing was also a solid moral lecture in patriotism to Slovenians inside and outside Slovenia proper.

Editorial director of publisher Bompiani Elisabetta Sgarbi sent in a written contribution themed "Pahor is Trieste", in which she describes how Pahor as a writer and man combines the features of Trieste as a city of diverse souls, experiences and knowledge, but with value added.

"We'd like to hear new words from him to find a meaning in them that would bind together two centuries of European life and so that through his words we discover a further meaning for our chaotic existences," Sgarbi stated.

French literary and film critic Jean-Luc Douin sent a message saying: "Despite doubt, despite faithful memory of the tortured fellow prisoners, despite the momentary conviction that he is no longer capable of being happy, for he stood on the threshold of a crematorium…Pahor still believes that desire and love can bring salvation. And he proves that too."