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Publishers and Journalists from German Speaking Countries Visit Slovenia

3–6 September 2015

German-Speaking Publishers and Journalists in Solkan

German-Speaking Publishers and Journalists in Solkan

As part of the preparatory activities prior to the project "Slovenia - Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair", the Slovenian Book Agency hosted the first three-day study visit for foreign publishers and culture journalists from German speaking countries.

The concept of a study visit for a foreign delegation of experts represents an established form of international cultural exchange. Therefore, literary expeditions such as this year's shall become a staple for years to come.

Between 3 and 6 September 2015 we were privy to host editors from three German publishing houses: Sabine Baumann (representative of the Schoeffling Publishing House), Lena Luczak (representative of the Wagenbach Publishing House) and Herbert Ohrlinger (representative of the Zsolnay Publishing House, part of the Hanser Group). Andreas Breitenstein (journalist at the Swiss Neue Zuericher Zeitung), Terrance Albrecht (journalist at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk) and Detlef Bluhm (Managing Director of the Berlin-Brandenburg branch of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association and member of the Administrative Board of the Frankfurt Book Fair) also attended the study visit.

The visit featured a stop in Bled, where we conversed with Mojca Kumerdej and Amalija Maček. The Mayor of the Municipality of Bled, Mr Janez Fajfar welcomed the company and acquainted us with the local history. After an afternoon guided tour of Ljubljana Castle and a stop at the Slovenian House restaurant, where both the Slovenian experts and the interested public had been invited to as well, the guests attended a fine wine tasting at the Movia Vinery. The tasting of six assorted Slovenian wines was accompanied by a presentation of six Slovenian poets: Srečko Kosovel, Lili Novy, Dane Zajc, Edvard Kocbek, Tomaž Šalamun, and Stanka Hrastelj.

On Friday, we travelled from Bled to Solkan by train and welcomed literary historian and author Lado Kralj to join us on the journey. The discussion on the train was moderated by historian Manca Renko, who focused on acquainting the guests with Slovenian history in the context of literature. During the afternoon, we had the opportunity to stop in Prosek (Prosecco) above Trieste and meet with Boris Pahor, who introduced us to his life and work at the Boris Pahor Library at the local Cultural House accompanied by historian Marta Verginella. The library features the entire opus of his translated works. In Trieste, we embarked on a journey along the trail of Slovenian history. This was followed by a visit to the Goriška brda hills, where we spent noontime in Dobrovo listening to the wisdom of Jani Virk and enjoyed a wine tasting at the local Ščurek Wine Cellar. After spending the afternoon in the Karst region, we concluded the day at the Vilenica Cave, where Czech author Jachym Topol was presented with the 2015 Vilenica Prize - the grand prize of the 30th Vilenica International Literary Festival.

The literary programme, the geographical diversity, Ljubljana and Trieste, and personal encounters with various authors made a great impression on our guests. And the echo of the distinguished journalists who graced us with their presence still resounds in their respective local media spheres to this very day. The next study visit for expert guests from the German-speaking realm is scheduled for June 2016.