BOOK FAIR(Y) IN ISTRIA
In December 1995, when the war in Croatian was calming down, the Book Fair in Istria was born in the three-thousand year old city of Pula. In twenty years of its existence the Book Fair became the most important Croatian gathering point of books and authors with its authentic presentation model of books and authors. More than 300 publishers from Croatia and the region exhibit their books at the Book Fair; 60 to 80 thousand booklovers visit the Book Fair; it has around one hundred various programmers (presentations of books and authors, conversations, gathering of professionals, speaker’s platforms, round tables, performances, concerts...) and every year it presents more than 200 authors. Today it is the biggest festival of writers in South-eastern Europe.
THEMES AND PROGRAMMES OF THE BOOK FAIR
The Book Fair(y) in Istria has profiled itself as a Festival of authors and publishers which every year has a special topic that is the starting point and the centre of the Book Fair programmers. The most important themes of the past years that marked some editions of Book Fair were: Women Power and Literary Creation (about the borderline between the trivial and literary women’s writing),Travel Books – Writer as Traveller (about travel books as a genre, discussion about the perception of Croatia and its heritage outside its borders), Detective Stories – Book Fair with an Alibi (popular genre with its theoretical reception), Poetry Is a Question of Heart (once a genre of central importance, whereas today a neglected literary genre), The Other Balkans (conceptions of the geographical and cultural area of the Balkans), Literary Nomads (nomadism in literature, interculturalism, national and transnational literatures), Book and Film (bondage and interactions of these two media, two arts and their intermediality), Drama’s Identity – Identity’s Drama (theatre’s influence on literature and vice versa), The Mediterranean – White and Black Sea (The Mediterranean in literature and culture, in particular Turkey and Italy), Socialism on the Desk (socialism as a social, theoretical and artistic phenomena), A Trip to Russia (contemporary Russian literature and culture), Vojvodina - Region within the Region(contemporary literature and culture of Vojvodina), 1914. (within commemoration that marks 100 years since the start of the First World War), comic (special focus on comics literature as an unjustifiably marginalized media)...
Besides its thematic orientation the Book Fair(y) in Istria wants to present and meet every year a particular region and its cultural milieu. So far we’ve got acquainted with Slavonia, Dalmatia, Monte Negro, Vojvodina, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Italy, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina...
From its very beginning the Book Fair tried to conceive different forms of book and author presentations through special programmes that throughout the years became settled and traditional: Breakfast with the Author (unconventional and relaxed one hour conversation with a famous foreign or Croatian author), Twilight Reading (presentation of books and authors that marked the current year, Talk behind the Curtain (philosophy, essays, scientific studies, literary criticism...), Librarian Days (programme dedicated to librarians and their profession), Authors from the Neighborhood (presentation of authors and publishers from the region) Berti’s Programme: Love at Second Sight (presentation of forgotten yet important books), Istria under the Skin (authors and books from Istria), Literary (Ob)sessions (conversation about current literary and cultural topics), Nights in Cvajner(exhibitions, presentations of monographs, concerts, informal gatherings...), At Domenico’s (mostly presentation of young authors and their contemporary literature), Noon at the Faculty (presentation of scientific and theoretical books at the University Juraj Dobrila of Pula)… and of course the programme dedicated to the themes of every single Book Fair. The warmth and the atmosphere of the already traditional programmes and the audience they gather have given to the Book Fair the flattering epithet the most original Festival in the region.
BOOK FAIR(Y) AUTHORS
During the twenty years of its existence the festival part of the Book Fair in Istria presented every year more and more writers, editors, encyclopaedists, translators, philosophers, scientists, authors in general, from Croatia and abroad. However it is not just the quantity but as well the quality of the worldwide famous authors, especially the writers, that gave to the Book Fair an enviable level of presentation that many bigger and more famous book fairs could envy. It would take too long to make a list of all the important and recognized international authors that participated at the Book Fair (having in mind that all prominent Croatian authors, from the youngest to the oldest participate in it), so, for this occasion we are going to mention in the chronological order just few of the best, whose names are noted down in the world annals of literature and culture.
FEDERICO ANDAHAZI, Argentinean writer, author of the controversial book The Anatomist, first foreign guest of the Pula Book Fair, guest for two days of the 5th Book Fair.
IRVINE WELSH, Scottish short-story writer, became a literary star in the 90-ies due to his mega-popular and respectable novelTrainspotting, a severe critic of the society, a movie bearing the same title was based on it; guest of the 8th Book Fair.
JIRI MENZEL, Czech film and theatre director and writer, Academy Award winner for the Best Foreign Language Film with the feature film Closely Watched Trains in 1967, he participated at the 8th Book Fair in the programme Bohemian Days in Pula.
MICHAL VIEWEGH, popular Czech short story writer, essayist and dramatist, for years the most read Czech author, he cheered up the audience of the 8th Book Fair.
DUŠAN KARPATSKY, Czech translator and writer, Bohemian and Croatian studies expert, often guest and good spirit of the Book Fair, his visits started at the 8th Book Fair.
ALICE SCHWARZER, the most eminent German feminist, collaborator of Simone de Beauvoir, socially active journalist and writer, guest of the 9th Book Fair.
ERICA FISHER, Austrian writer, became famous worldwide with her book Amee and Jaguar, intriguing love story between the wife of a Nazi and a young Jewish woman situated in Berlin during World War II, presented herself at the 9th Book Fair.
PÉTER ESTERHÁZY, contemporary Hungarian writer with aristocratic roots, translated in twenty languages was guest of the 9thBook Fair. This exceptional novel writer, essayist and literary critic, even if by profession a mathematician, drew the attention of the audience and the colleagues for his spontaneous simplicity and intimacy.
CLAUDIO MAGRIS, Italian writer, critic and excellent expert of German studies, one of the biggest experts for the history and culture of Middle Europe, visited the 10th Book Fair and often returned to visit it. Pula and Istria are very close to the Italian and Austrian culture and literature and they found in the tolerant Magris a real interpreter of this area’s history.
RUI NUNES, Portuguese writer, wrote around ten novels and was guest of the 10th Book Fair.
ORHAN PAMUK, Turkish writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. He visited Pula and the Book Fair on its tenth anniversary two years before he received the most prestigious literary award. The Management Board of the 10th Kiklop literary award anticipated the Nobel Prize and gave him a special Kiklop award for the Best Author of Book Fair.
TESS GALLAGHER, famous American poetess and dramatist, presented during the 10th Book Fair her book Soul Barnacles: Ten More Years with Ray.
DACIA MARAINI, famous Italian writer, collaborator and life partner of the legendary writer Alberto Moravia, famous journalist and author of the cult book The Silent Duchess, visited the 11th Book Fair.
UMBERTO ECO, eminent and planetary popular Italian linguist, philosopher, semiotician, writer, critic, columnist, culture theoretician... highlight of the 12th Book Fair(y) in Istria, he drew the attention of the media and the audience (his first public appearance in Croatia) and instigated a glamorous ecomania. Author of the novel The Name of the Rose, was guest of the Book Fair for four days and participated at the translators’ conference Eco – Magris: work in progress.
KENNETH WHITE, Scottish author of numerous texts, was an excellent interlocutor for the theme of the 14th Book Fair. White is convinced that intellectual activity and consequent practice can still ward off the colourful and dazzling supermarkets selling fortune.
ALBERTO MANGUEL, Argentinean writer with a Canadian passport, collaborator of the great Borges and author of the famous book A History of Reading, guest of the 15th Book Fair.
DANIEL DENNETT, American philosopher, according to many one of the greatest living thinkers, he presented during the 15th Book Fair the Croatian translation of his book Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.
DUŠAN MAKAVEJEV, Yugoslavian and Serbian director of worldwide famous avant-garde films, star of the 16th Book Fair.
ZERUYA SHALEV, Israeli writer and editor, author of the bestseller Love Life and Husband and Wife, guest of the 16th Book Fair.
KARL MARKUS GAUSS, Austrian essayist, publicist and publisher of the magazine Literatur und Kritik, author of the books Die Vernichtung Mitteleuropas (TN. Distruction of Middle Europe) and Das europaïsche Alphabet (TN. European Alphabet), guest of the 16th Book Fair.
GEERT MAK, Dutch lawyer, journalist and writer, known for his travel book In Europe: Travel Through the Twentieth Century, visited the 16th Book Fair.
ERIKA FISCHER-LICHTE, famous German theoretician and expert in theatre studies, guest of the 17th Book Fair.
AYFER TUNÇ, eminent Turkish writer, guest of the 18th Book Fair.
ECE TEMELKURAN, Turkish writer, journalist and political activist, famous for the book Deep Mountain Across the Turkish-Armenian Divide, guest of the 18th Book Fair.
NEDIM GÜRSEL, Turkish writer and University Professor in Paris, presented his novel The Daughters of Allah during the 18th Book Fair.
MURAT UYURKULAK, popular Turkish writer, also guest of the 18th Book Fair.
JOLE ZANETTI, Italian writer publicist and feminist, presented her book Racconti sgradevoli (TN. Disgusting Stories) at the 18thBook Fair.
PAOLO RUMIZ, journalist, publicist and writer from Trieste, guest of the 18th Book Fair.
TATJANA TOLSTAJA, famous contemporary writer from Russia, presented her novel Kis at the 19th Book Fair.
ALEKSANDAR GENIS, Russian essayist, theoretician, publicist and writer, presented his book Darkness and Silence during the 19th Book Fair.
OLEG KAŠIN, Russian journalist, writer and publicist, severe critic of Putin’s politic, star of the 19th Book Fair.
LJUDMILA ULICKAJA, eminent writer from Russia, presented her most famous novel Daniel Stein, Interpreter at the 19th Book Fair.
OKSANA ZABUZHKO, controversy Ukraine writer announced 20. Book Fair(y) opened and presented her new novel “The Museum of Abandoned Secrets”
LYUDMILA PETRUSHEVSKAYA, Russian writer and musician that New York times pronounced one of the biggest living authors and her novel “The Time: Night”, that she present on our Fair, has been nominated for the most prestigious Russian literary award - Russian Booker.