Sa(n)jam knjige in Istria

from 1995…

Sa(n)jam knjige in Istria was created in 1995 from the bold gesture of one man to call the 1st Book Fair in Istria shortly after the end of the war. At its core is the spirit of the sixties and seventies, the memory of the growth of a new city, urban and creative, marked by the creative power of the people of Pula at the time, their courage to change the world from a geographical margin.

The thread weaves and extends to today’s fair, book and author festival, relevant and recognizable in Croatian, European and world coordinates, original and authentic in the ways of presenting book contents, in opening the space for dialogue between authors and authors, authors with readers, readers with books , and in establishing strongholds for the evaluation of tradition and modernity. So, still as a destiny place of faith in oneself.

In its beginnings, the fair squatted premises from which the city gave up, and then took a home in the Austro-Hungarian Palace, a monumental building of the Croatian Veterans’ Home, where every December, together with Pula’s book lovers, it welcomes guests and planners from all over the world.

Imperial halls, concert halls and ballrooms for ten days become the scenery of the largest bookstore (and grandstand) in Croatia.

More than 200 publishers from Croatia and other countries are exhibiting at the Fair, and with books and a hundred programs, up to 60,000 visitors gather. Talks, conferences, tribunes and roundtables, exhibitions, concerts and theatrical performances feature dozens of copyright voices, many of which have become part of the cultural memory of the city that does not lack the cultural memory: Umberto Eco, Orhan Pamuk, Péter Esterházy, Luko Paljetak, Claudio Magris, Ali Aḥmad Sa’id Asbar – Adonis, Irvin Welsh, Tess Gallagher, Nedjeljko Fabrio, Jiří Menzel, Alberto Manguel, Ljudmila Ulicka, Mirko Kovac, Daniel Dennett, Dragutin Tadijanović, Ece Temelkuran, Tatiana Tolstaja, Alexander Genissev, Ljudmila , Oksana Zabuzko, Erri De Luca…

The program basis of the Fair is interculturalism, affirmation of internal and European regionalism, maintenance and promotion of the peculiarities of literary culture. Never classified, always in dialogue, the creators and guests of the Fair meet in Pula, the marginal point of that social reality that does not give up the catalog of ideals being shared – such as freedom.