Please forgive the past tense of this title. It’s because we were so busy at the Pula Book Fair that we didn’t have time to write about it while it was going on!
So, we figured better late than never, and anyway this could be the first time you have heard of the fair, or even of Pula! So let’s start with the latter: Pula is a port town on the tip of the Istrian peninsula, in the north-west of Croatia. It’s architecture reveals a mix of influences from Italy and Croatia, with a dose of Austria-Hungary and Communist Yugoslavia thrown in.This is the Mediterranean.
The book fair is something unique in the region, and provides a platform for local and international writers, publishers, agents and those in-between to meet, talk, stage events and of course, buy books. Founded in 1995, just after the end of the last Balkan war, the fair has fast become the most exciting literary event of the region.
Every year the Book Fair presents more than 300 publishers from Croatia and the region, it is visited by approximately 60.000 book-lovers, has more than 80 events (presentations of books and authors, professional gatherings, round tables, performances…) and more than 200 authors participate in these events. Today it is the biggest festival of writers in Southeast Europe. Past guests include Orhan Pamuk, Umberto Eco, Claudio Magris, Peter Esterhazy, Kenneth White, Irwin Welsh, Tess Gallagher, Michala Viewegha, Jiři Menzel, Dacia Maraini, Albert Manguel…
This year’s theme was ‘the Mediterranean – the black and white seas’,represented by speakers from Turkey and Italy. The packed programme included such delights as a multicultural discussion on Free Speech, book launches from Miljeko Jergovic, Andrej Nikolaids and Dragan Velikic, a discussion of Istanbul through writers eyes….
The finale of the nine days fair is the award ceremony for the Kiklop Prize, where authors from across Croatia in all areas of literature (including poetry and historical books) are selected for special attention.
If you are asking yourself who some of the above writers are, then start paying more attention to what Istros Books is trying to do! We are here to present S E Europe to Western Europe.