Slovenia - Frankfurt Guest of Honour Candidate

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Featuring: »Novel of the Year« short-listed Titles

The Midsummer Eve in Slovenia is traditionally booked for the Kresnik Award for the best novel of the year. Every year, over one hundred novels enter the selection process, while the jury chooses the nominees. The winner is announced at the ceremony, where he or she receives a cash prize and is given the honour of lighting the traditional bonfire at the top of the Rožnik hill accompanied by the midsummer procession.

This year's final five nominees were: Mojca Kumerdej, Tadej Golob, Gašper Kralj, Tomo Podstenšek and Goran Vojnović. Finally and after much deliberation, the 2017 Kresnik Award was awarded to Goran Vojnović for his fascinating novel The Fig Tree (Figa).

Goran Vojnović: The Fig Tree

Tadej Golob: The Lake

Gašper Kralj - Shelf Life

Mojca Kumerdej: The Harvest of Chronos

Tomo Podstenšek: Rock, Paper, Scissors

The Kresnik Award 2017: The Fig Tree by Goran Vojnović 
Goran Vojnović (1980), a writer, poet, screenwriter and film director, is considered as one of the most internationaly acclaimed Slovenian authors. He burst onto the Slovenian literary scene in 2008 with his debut novel Sothern Scum Go Home! (Čefurji raus!). The novel became an instant bestseller and reaped all major national literary awards, including the Kresnik Award. It was adapted for film and theatre and translated into eight languages. His second novel Yugoslavia, My Fatherland (Jugoslavija, moja dežela, 2012) also received the Kresnik Award, was made into a theatre play and translated into ten languages. His third and most recent novel, The Fig Tree (Figa, 2016), won him the Kresnik Award for third time!

The Fig Tree is an intimate drama portraying a family through three generations at the time of former Yugoslavia, its breakup and today's Slovenia. It is also a story about relationships,  love, freedom and the choices we make. It follows the interwining stories of Jadran's family, but mostly that of Jadran, a 30-something year-old, who tries to piece together the story of his family to be able to understand his own story and his relationship with Anja, who walked out of their life.

Published in Slovenian under the title Figa by Beletrina publishing house in 2016.
Rights sold to:
Croatia (Fraktura)
Germany (Folio)

Tadej Golob: The Lake
Tadej Golob (1967), a journalist and mountain climber, is one of the most original Slovenian authors. He also writes biographies and young adults novels. His novel Pork Legs (Svinjske nogice, 2010) was awarded with the 2010 Kresnik Award while his most recent novels; Ali boma ye! (2014) and the crime fiction The Lake (Jezero, 2017); were both shortlisted for the aformentioned award.

Slovenian readers and literary critics have hailed The Lake as the best Slovenian crime novel. The story starts at the New Year's Eve in heavy snowfall, the scenary being the picturesque Lake Bohinj in the closed-off Alpine valley, when chief inspector Taras Birsa and his wife stumble on a police car parked in the middle of the road. Sitting inside is a girl and her dog who found a headless corpse of a young woman in the ice of the nearby river…

Golob has set a planned sequel to The Lake aside to write a script for a TV series based on his novel. The series in six parts will be produced for the National TV by the end of 2018.

Published in Slovenian under the title Jezero by Goga publishing house in 2016 (world rights available).

Gašper Kralj: Shelf Life
Gašper Kralj, a social anthropologist researcher who has been living in Catalonia since 2010, has made the shortlist with his debut novel Shelf Life (Rok trajanja, 2016), a psychological drama dealing with the theme of dying from the perspective of a male palliative care nurse.
The book has earned critical acclaim for its fresh and innovative take on dying, and for its persuasive first-person narrator, something that Kralj as a freshman among established novelists, finds "exciting".

The protagonist  has no name. What he does have, however, is a somewhat unusual job – and a rather uncommon approach to it as well. He is a palliative caregiver, who efficiently – perhaps even too efficiently – looks after the dying. He writes a diary to alleviate the anxiety that he experiences at work and especially after work. And to avoid forgetting. When he has work – that is, when people around him are dying – he seems to have things more or less under control. When he has no work, his world seems to be slowly falling apart. His habitual meetings with his drinking buddies and his girlfriend Katarina are turning shorter and shorter. He is becoming increasingly desperate while trying to come up with alibis for his criminal acts – which may or may not be categorized as such – and getting increasingly lonelier trying to incriminate his friends, who might be precisely that.
Questions of death, suicide, homicide, euthanasia and guilt are thus skilfully sutured into the caregiver’s paranoid inner world. This extraordinary work, which describes the details of death and dying while focusing on the downward slide of its first-person narrator into madness, is “a highly articulate debut novel, whose style places it somewhere between Robbe-Grillet’s Voyeur and Beckett’s heroes,” as one of the literary critic states it.

Published in Slovenian under the title Rok trajanja by cf* publishing house (world rights available).

Rights sold to:
Hungary

Mojca Kumerdej: The Harvest of Chronos
Mojca Kumerdej (1964) is an award-winning writer and philosopher.

The Harvest of Chronos (Kronosova žetev, 2016), her second novel, is a picturesque portrait of Central Europe in the 16th century – a territory plagued by ceaseless battles for supremacy between the Protestant political elite and the ruling Catholic Habsburg Monarchy. In this epic saga, history and fiction intertwine in wavelike fashion, producing a colourful portrait of the Renaissance; permeated by humanist attempts to resurrect antiquity through art, new scientific findings, and spirited philosophical and theological debates. Yet this was a time of intrigues, accusations of heresy, political betrayal, and burnings at the stake, an age which produced executioners, scapegoats and extraordinary individuals who were prepared to oppose the dominant beliefs and dare to believe in a new order.

The novel was already awarded twice this year, with the critics choice award and the highest national award for cultural archievments (Prešeren Prize).

Published in Slovenian under the title Kronosova žetev by Beletrina publishing house in 2016 (world rights available).
Rights sold to:
UK (Peter Owen World Series/Istros Books)
Germany (Wallstein)
Serbia (Geopoetika)
Croatia (Fraktura)
The English edition will be available in bookstores this October.

Tomo Podstenšek: Rock, Paper, Scissors
Tomo Podstenšek was in the running with Rock, Paper, Scissors (Papir, kamen, škarje, 2016), a harshly realistic novel about a geography teacher going through mid-life crisis. He is full of anxieties (be it in shopping malls, traffic, relationships), somewhat unsociable and sour in a Houellebecquian way...

"The response has been distinctly positive, probably also because of the topical theme of searching for a meaning in a world of material overabundance that is devoid of spirituality," Podstenšek said.

Published in Slovenian under the title Papir, kamen, škarje by Litera publishing house in 2016 (world rights available).