Vilenica literary festival starting

Ljubljana – The 37th international literary festival Vilenica is getting under way on Tuesday. Running until Sunday, again in live format, it will feature 14 authors from a dozen countries at 15 events, mostly in Ljubljana but also in the Karst area, Koper, Hrastnik and Italy’s Trieste.

The central theme of discussions at the latest meeting of poets, writers, playwrights and essayists from Central Europe, which the Slovenian Writers’ Association has been organising since 1986, has been summed up by the organisers under the title How Far Is Home.

The focus will be on refugees and language, with the chair of the Vilenica Prize jury Aljoša Harlamov highlighting the clinch caused in Europe by the refugee crisis and the role of Slovenia in bureaucratic asylum procedures that violate human rights.

Europe is also not ready for climate refugees, people who will start leaving their countries stricken by drought or floods. And since migrations are also a cultural issue, the festival will reflect on what refugee and immigrant writers can contribute and how this affects creativity and preservation of memory and identity, Harlamov added.

One the highlights of the festival typically come at its very end when the Vilenica Prize is conferred in the Vilenica cave.

This year’s winner is Latvian poet Amanda Aizpuriete, who has published nine collections of poems and whose works have been translated into 14 languages.

The laureate, born in 1956, belongs to the generation that started writing poetry in the mid-1970s and actively resisted the double morality of Latvian or Soviet society. She has raised many taboo subjects, exposing in particular the life of women in a predominantly patriarchal and socially difficult environment.

Also to be conferred at the festival is the Lavrin Diploma, handed out by the Association of Slovenian Literary Translators. The recipient is Ludwig Hartinger, an acclaimed Austrian translator who has translated a number of Slovenian works into German.

Meanwhile, Andrej Blatnik, 59, a member of the postmodernist generation of Slovenian fiction writers, has been chosen as the Slovenian author in the focus of the festival.

Blatnik has written five novels, six books of short stories and a book of essays. His books have been translated into a number of languages and have earned him several awards.

Dušan Merc, head of the Writers’ Association, believes the festival could be a turning point due to recent and current events around the world, such as the Covid epidemic and the war in Ukraine, but hopes for more optimism after it.

One of the Vilenice Prize recipients in its 37-year history has been a Ukrainian author – Yurii Andrukhovych, who won the accolade in 2017. German-Ukrainian author Natalka Sniadanko will be one of the guests this year.

Katlin Kaldmaa and Igor Kotjuh will meanwhile represent Estonia as an anthology of contemporary Estonian literature featuring 21 authors will be published on the occasion.

The post Vilenica literary festival starting appeared first on Slovenia Times.

Continue reading on: