Press Release: Study Visit of German Publishers and Journalists
Our journey began on Thursday, 9 June, with a visit to the annual publishers' meeting organized by the Slovenian Publishers Association. Dr. Petra Hardt, a renowned copyright and translation rights specialist with over twenty years of experience in the field and representative of Suhrkamp Verlag held a lecture with the title "Copyright and Translation Rights - A Marvel Neglected by too Many Publishers". Dr. Hardt's speech was followed by a round table discussion revolving around the recent challenges faced by German publishers. The host Renata Zamida had the opportunity to engage in conversation with Thorsten Ahrend (Wallstein), Alexander Roesler (S. Fischer), Kristine Kress (Ullstein) and Maike Nedo (Berlin Verlag). During the afternoon, our guests visited the Bled islet, the venue of a literary event with Mojca Kumerdej, and were also welcomed acclaimed historian and 16th-century expert Dr. Sašo Jerše. The evening session featured a conversation with world-renowned philosopher Dr. Slavoj Žižek.
On Friday, 10 June, our guests embarked on a guided literary tour of Ljubljana and met with writer Jani Virk. During the afternoon, our guests attended a tour of the Manuscript Department of the National and University Library (NUK), where they were acquainted with the works of Alma Karlin and the original edition of Jurij Dalmatin's Bible. The group was also joined by writer and poet Milan Dekleva (who dedicated a novel to the great Alma M. Karlin) and editor, publicist and translator Jerneja Jezernik, a prolific and devoted researchers of the spiritual, literary and material heritage of the renowned world-traveller and internationally-acclaimed writer Alma M. Karlin.
On Saturday, 11 June, our guests visited acclaimed historian Jože Pirjevec, after which they joined writer Marko Sošič at the famous San Marco Café and Bookstore in Trieste - a venue near and dear to stellar author Claudio Magris. The journey to Trieste ended with a visit of the city's book central, where our guests had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with Italian translations of works by Slovenian authors. The three-day visit concluded with a tasting of six assorted Slovenian vines in Ljubljana, where our guests were treated to a literary introduction to six Slovenian poetry greats: Srečko Kosovel, Lili Novy, Dane Zajc, Edvard Kocbek, Tomaž Šalamun and Stanka Hrastelj.
Impressions by some of our eminent guests:
Dr. Petra Hardt, Suhrkamp
Throughout the past 36 years, I attended numerous study visits for publishers and I can honestly say that the visit to Slovenia was the best. It represented a harmonious fusion of literature, philosophy, authors, publishers, the land, people, history, the contemporary book market, archives and extraordinary hospitality. In the end, all participants exclaimed in unison that we would never forget this journey. With its historic and multilingual space, Slovenia spreads topics and views that are key to other cultures and language spaces throughout Europe as well. Therefore, the Suhrkamp publishing house intends to persistently speak in favour of and broadly support the idea of a focus on Slovenian literature at the Frankfurt Book Fair that should come to fruition until 2021 at the latest.
Dr. Alexander Roesler, S.Fischer
The multitude of impressions is astounding. We were able to meet so many authors and become acquainted with a plethora of works. We participated in so many discussions and were privy to obtaining so many information about Slovenia that it will most definitely conquer a very special place (in my mind and in my heart). I returned home with volumes of ideas and I firmly believe that some of the projects discussed will be realized. And when the time comes for Slovenia to grace the stage as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair, I am convinced that you will succeed in exciting the entire literary world. I can't imagine anything different.
Kristine Kress, Ullstein
The visit most definitely conveyed a comprehensive impression about the diversity and richness of Slovenia and even throughout these few days, which very much too short, it became clear too all of us that there are so many more literary voices and stories of Slovenia that we still have to explore. And what I had seen spurs a desire in me to delve into this cultural diversity even more deeply. Furthermore, it was marvellous that we were able to visit so many places, see so many landscapes and meet such different and inspiring personalities. In my opinion, the composition of our group was excellent. It included just the right amount of people and joined publishers and journalists, which was a rare occasion for us, but a welcome one with regard to our respective professions.
The study visit to Slovenia was also revisited in German newspapers:
Gregor Dotzauer: Miniature Europe (Tagesspiegel)
Dotzauer is a German culture journalist who observes Slovenian literature very thoughtfully and has followed (and occasionally reviewed) it for several years as much as this is possible to someone who does not speak Slovene. This is also evident from his article in the German newspaper Tagesspiegel (July 2016) that features a socially critical word-journey from Bled to Ljubljana and further to Trieste "in the company" of authors, whom Dotzauer met during his travels to Slovenia, and ends with verses by Edvard Kocbek. Dotzauer thus frowns upon the fact there are no bilingual signs in Trieste, upon the seemingly irresponsible "clearance sale" of state property (for example water sources), upon the "insurgents" occupying the former bicycle factory Rog, and upon the Slovenian neo-leftists, who seek inspiration from Greek and Spanish revolters. However, what echoes loudest from his article is the desire to read Kosovel with a glass of Teran or to purchase German translations of Pahor, Sošič and many other Slovenian authors at the Central Bookstore of Trieste.
Paul Ingendaay: Poetry and Honey (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
Paul Ingendaay, a columnist for one of the leading German newspapers, substantiated his article about the study visit to Slovenia with many arguments speaking in favour of Slovenia's "honorific" participation at the Frankfurt Book Fair: scenic beauty, exquisite wine, rampant thinkers and perchance the highest density of poets in all of Europe. Slovenia, a country passed and shared between empires and larger states throughout history always searched for and found its identity in language and culture rather than in the context of territorial unity...