Slavic authors in Leipzig and Ljubljana
Promotion of Slavic literature, and in particular of the authors from the 100 Slavic Novels list, took place at the International Book Fair in Leipzig this March as well as in Ljubljana, where the Forum of Slavic Cultures held two debate evenings accompanying the exhibition 100 Slavic Novels.
The Forum of Slavic Cultures presented the 100 Slavic Novels collection at this year’s book fair in Leipzig with authors Slavenka Drakulić from Croatia and Andrej Nikolaidis from Montenegro in the company of Andreja Rihter, Forum’s Director, and Dubravka Đurić Nemec, the collection Editor-in-Chief. This year, the fair featured 2,600 exhibitors from 48 countries.
Slovenian authors from the 100 Slavic Novels list gathered at the debate evening entitled the Power of Literature, the Power of Understanding, which accompanied the exhibition at the Ljubljana City Hall. The debate focused on the mission, role and impact of this unique collection. Author and editor Mitja Čander, who was the collection’ first editor, talked to his guests, Slovenian authors Gabriela Babnik, Feri Lainšček, Marko Sosič, Jani Virk and Vlado Žabot about the Slavic world, the perception of Slavic literature between different Slavic nations and the importance of translation, promotion and of knowing each other.
On the eve before the International Women’s Day Tanja Tuma, president of MIRA Women’s Committee of the Slovenian PEN Centre, and her guests Katja Mihurko Poniž, professor and literary researcher, authors Suzana Tratnik and Gabriela Babnik with Ivo Svetina, president of Slovenian Writers’ Association, discussed the current status of Slovenian women authors and their impact on the Slovenian Parnassus in the last decade.
Ivo Svetina reminded us of the nearly completely overlooked poet and one of Slovenia’s first intimists, Saša Vegri, who was completely neglected by her male colleagues with their poetry volume entitled The Poems of the Four (Pesmi štirih). Katja Mihurko Poniž offered a historical overview of women poets who were popular, acclaimed and widely read in their time. The sieve of time has sifted them into oblivion and our literary canon has thus lost its original substance, which is reflected also in the syllabus for Slovenian language today. The good news is that Slovenian author Maja Haderlap is now on the reading list for the matura exam 2019 with her novel Angel of Oblivion.
Both Suzana Tratnik and Gabriela Babnik agreed that they see their inclusion in the 100 Slavic Novels collection as an honour through which their work was given a place in the literary canon.