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    Press release from 2/25/11 | Leipziger Buchmesse

    Leipzig Book Fair 2011

    The biggest Balkans programme in the history of the fair

    This March, the Leipzig Book Fair presents the biggest literary programme for Southeast European countries since the collapse of Yugoslavia. Serbia is the focus nation, featuring new translations of more than 30 titles. Around 100 participants will come to Leipzig from Southeast Europe to introduce their latest works.

    Focus Southeast Europe: new forum with wide-ranging programme

    The Balkans will be in place at the Leipzig Book Fair in March with a lavish programme. At more than 100 events, over 70 authors from eleven Southeast European countries will introduce their books and in the new Southeast Europe Forum, will provide insights into life and cultural activity in their home countries. Albania takes part for the first time with a presentation and young writers such as Agron Tufa, Ledia Dushi and the poet Luljeta Lleshanaku.

    “Close and trusting cooperation with different partners is needed to get a programme like this off the ground”, says Oliver Zille, director of the Leipzig Book Fair. “Thanks to the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Traduki network, the S. Fischer Foundation, the German Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut, the Serbian P.E.N. Centre and the Serbian Ministry of Culture, we have succeeded in putting in place the biggest literary programme for Southeast European countries, aiming to draw attention to an interesting European book and literary market.”

    The topics are as colourful and diverse as the countries taking part: cultural policy problems, the experiences of war, the soul of the Balkans and Belgrade's nightlife are on the agenda. The event “New Faces from the South” marks the opening of the new Southeast Europe Forum on 17 March. Guest readers will be the Macedonian poet Nikola Madžirov and the Serbian poet and prose author Marija Kneževic.

    The highlight of the Southeast Europe programme comes with the series of events headlined “The Balkans Rock” on 18 and 19 March at the UT Connewitz. With prose, poetry, film, music and spicy Balkan cooking, there will be reading, partying and discussion featuring guests who include Albana Shala (Albania), Robert Alagjozovski (Macedonia), Vladimir Tasic (Serbia), Shkelzen Maliqi (Kosovo), Vladislav Todorov (Bulgaria), Olga Savicevic Ivancevic (Croatia), Stanka Hrastelj (Slovenia), Razvan Radulescu (Romania) and Mile Stojic (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Music will be provided by the ethno-classic band Akustika from Albania and the Serbian musician and flautist Bora Dugic.

    The interest in literature shared by all Southeast European countries also contributes to mutual understanding. With the makers of the Belgrade internet portal “Beton”, Jeton Neziraj, director of the Kosovan national theatre in Pristina, has launched two Kosovan-Serbian anthologies. Text extracts from this literary reconciliation initiative will be read at “The Balkans Rock” event.

    Serbia as focus nation in 2011

    Although Serbia has produced authors of world standing such as Nobel prize laureate Ivo Andric, Aleksander Tišma and Danilo Kiš, for German readers the countries is still more or less “terra incognita”. At the same time, approximately 14,000 titles are published annually in Serbia and more than six million books are sold - in a population of just under seven million. The shadowy existence of Serbia's literary figures outside their own country is now set to change.

    The Serbian programme will feature around 40 authors introducing German translations of about 30 titles ranging from poetry and non-fiction to novels. Well-known Serbian authors such as Bora Cosic (Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding 2001), David Albahari, Dragan Velikic and László Végel, as well as still unknown and young up-and-coming writers, will be reading on the Serbian stand at the fair and at Leipzig city venues,.

    Serbian theatre is represented by the dramatists Biljana Srbljanovic, Milena Markovic and Maja Pelevic, among others. Poets such as Radmila Lazic, Dragana Mladenovic and Stevan Tontic will be guests at the fair on behalf of Serbia's poetry writing scene.

    On 17 March, a round table and exhibition opening will mark the 50th anniversary of the Nobel prize award to Ivo Andric. New editions and new translations of Andric's works, such as “Brücke über die Drina”, will also be presented. A virtual exhibition on Serbian comics of the last 30 years will provide an unconventional insight on the Serbian stand.

    One of the highlights of the Serbian focus will be the marathon reading and music performance by the young Belgrade literary festival “Krokodil” starting at 20.00 hours on 17 March in the Skala Theater. Internationally known authors such as Bora Cosic, Vladimir Pištalo, Sreten Ugricic and Biljana Srbljanovic will be there, with Ðorde Brankovic und Aleksandra Virijevic providing musical-poetic entertainment.

    With this programme, the Leipzig Book Fair continues its long-term project of introducing literature from Central and Southeast Europe to a wider public on the German-language book market. At the same time, it is hoped to achieve stronger networking between Serbian publishers, authors and translators on the one hand and the German, Austrian and Swiss literary world on the other. The national focus presentations of Slovenia (2007) and Croatia (2008) serve as forerunners, with their literature now attracting greater attention in German-speaking countries.


    Press Contact

    PR Manager
    Ms Nancy Pfaff
    Phone: +49 341 678 65 54
    Fax: +49 341 678 65 12
    E-Mail: n.pfaff@leipziger-messe.de


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