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Book fair(y) in Istria...

is the greatest festival of books and authors and the biggest gathering and meeting point of Croatian publishers or, in brief, the most unique book fair in Croatia. As an independent cultural project, it was founded in1995 by a group of creative people and book lovers gathered around the Castropola bookshop. Journalists proclaimed it the "Croatian Leipzig", authors named it a "book fair with a human face", whereas the audience said it was "the most original literary event in Croatia". Internationally acclaimed and famous, the Fair(y) has become the meeting place of Croatian, regional and European literary elite, gaining international recognition thanks to its unique programmes, famous guests, and the unconventional, typical Mediterranean atmosphere it conveys.

The Book Fair(y) in Istria traditionally takes place at the beginning of December. During the ten days, the whole Istrian peninsula lives for the book, while Pula’s venues of cult status turn into festival stages. The Fair(y)’s main venue is, quite unusually, an Austro-Hungarian art-deco building Marine Casino, today the House of Croatian Defenders. Besides the main building, there are other traditional festival stages: Galleries Cvajner and Makina, the Istrian National Theatre, the Multimedia Centre Luka, the Faculty of Philosophy in Pula, Rock Club Uljanik, the Italian Community Centre Circolo, etc.

The Book Fair(y) in Istria has profiled itself as a festival of authors and publishers. Each year a different theme makes the nucleus of its programme. Over the past few years, the most important themes were: Women Power and Literary Creation (about the borderline between trivial and literary significant women’s writing), Writer as a Traveller (about the reception of Croatia and its heritage outside its borders), Detective Story (popular literary genre and its theoretical reception), Poetry, The Other Balkans (the geographic and cultural space of the Balkans), Literary Nomads (nomadism in literature, interculturalism, national and transnational literature), The Book and the Film, The Identity of Drama and The Drama of Identity, The Mediterranean: The White and Black Seas... Along with the central theme, the Fair(y) explores each year a different region and its cultural milieu. So far, we have explored Slavonia, Dalmatia, the Czech Republic, Montenegro, Italy, the Mediterranean, Turkey...

In the eighteen years of Fair(y)’s existence, many national and foreign authors, editors, philosophers and translators have participated in the programme. Not just the number of our guest authors, but primarily the quality of their work has helped to raise the Book Fair(y) to a high level. It would take too long to present the full list, but it’s worth mentioning a few who have been inscribed in the world literary chronicles: Orhan Pamuk, Umberto Eco, Peter Esterhazy, Claudio Magris, Irwine Welsh, Kenneth White, Jiri Menzel, Tess Gallagher, Dacia Maraini, Alice Schwarzer, Erika Fischer...