Writers’ Association celebrates 150th anniversary

Ljubljana – The Slovenian Writers’ Association (DSP) celebrated its 150th anniversary on Wednesday by holding a reading event where its established and new members read excerpts from their works. The association also plans to release a special publication to mark the occasion.

The publication, which is set to be released by the end of the year, will feature essays by nine former presidents of the association and the incumbent head. It will be dedicated to the past 40 years of the association’s work.

The former heads that will contribute to the publication include acclaimed authors such as Tone Partljič, Milan Jesih, Veno Taufer and Ivo Svetina.

The current president, Dušan Merc, said that the DSP now was different than the one 150 years ago or even the one active between 1945 and 1991, but its main mission – to preserve and promote the Slovenian literature and language – remained the same.

He noted the association’s contribution to Slovenia’s independence efforts, saying that DSP members had launched preparations for the Slovenian Constitution even before the 1991 independence war broke out in the country.

Former head Slavko Pregl said the main thing was that the DSP, with its 330 members, remained united and only spoke up when key issues arose. Among the challenges, he highlighted the upcoming Frankfurt and Bologna fairs, at which Slovenia will be the guest of honour in 2023 and 2024, respectively. The vision for these projects is not yet known, he noted.

Marking World Book Day, observed on 23 April, the association has organised a series of events that coincide with its anniversary, including a discussion on Catalan literature on Thursday.

The history of the DSP dates back to April 1872 when a group of Ljubljana writers founded the first writers’ association on the initiative of Davorin Trstenjak, who was also its first president.

When this project soon fell through, the Writers’ Support Association was founded in 1885 and continued to function until 1915 when it was dissolved by the Austrian authorities.

In 1920, the Association of Slovenian Fiction Writers was established, which was renamed the Slovenian Writers’ Association in 1968.

The association is active in many fields, including event organisation, book fairs, awards, writing residencies and publishing.