Slavic Word at the 50th International Writers’ Meeting in Bled

A round-table of writers from Slavic countries with Jennifer Clement, President of PEN International, took place at the 50th International writers’ meeting in Bled organized by Slovenian PEN Centre. In addition, Slavic writers gathered at the literary evening, moderated by Dubravka Đurić Nemec from Croatia.  

The discussion with the President of PEN International was entitled Censorship and Self-Censorship in Totalitarian Regimes and in New Democracies of Slavic Countries. In the beginning Clement spoke of the situation in Mexico where journalists, and female journalists in particular, are not only persecuted by the government they criticize but can be even murdered by narco cartels and other criminal associations. Evgeny Popov, President of the Russian PEN Centre from Moscow, Zdravka Etimova, writer from Bulgaria, Gojko Božović, from PEN Serbia, and Jani Virk from Slovenian PEN Centre also took part in the round-table discussion on censorship chaired by Tanja Tuma while  Mykail Riabchuk from Ukraine and Dimitar Bashevski from Macedonia sent their contributions.

Popov pointed out that the position of writers in Russia was not ideal. In Božović’s view this position is very sensitive, bearing in mind especially the new wave of nationalism. He said that anyone could write what their wanted but the media landscape had shrunk. Jani Virk agreed. The newspaper circulation is falling, the supplements are axed, and the influence of capital on the contents, according to Virk, is getting more and more dangerous. Zdravka Evtimova described the situation in Bulgaria as democratic and open and identified the poverty of journalists and writers as the largest problem. She concluded with the following thought: “Censorship exists so we can conquer it and keep writing.”

The roundtable participants later on gathered at the literary evening where they spoke of the 100 Slavic Novels series and read the fragments from the novels placed on the national lists of this unique collection. In the evening they were received by the Mayors of the Municipalities of Bled and Radovljica Janez Fajfar and Ciril Globočnik.

Slavic Word at the 50th International Writers’ Meeting in Bled