Returning to Buch Wien After 13 Years

Despite its proximity it took 13 years for the Slovak Literary Center to return to the book fair. Buch Wien, which took place from 10 to 14 November 2021 across four stages in hall D, offered many interesting readings and events. Due to the pandemics, entry was granted only to fully vaccinated and cured people.

The LIC stand displayed books of numerous Slovak publishers, as well as books published by LIC, and books supported by the SLOLIA grant published in German. People of Slovak heritage stopped by, and so did those driven by sheer curiosity – many had no idea how many great Slovak books of various genres have already been published in German.

Planned and spontaneous meetings with publishers from German speaking countries filled almost all of our three days at the book fair – Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We met mainly with publishing houses from Austria, but there were Swiss and German publishers, too. We also managed to meet with colleagues from the Latvian literary center in Riga and from the Norwegian NORLA. Some of the meetings confirmed established book projects and enabled planning of further collaborations, others presented brand new encounters that searched for common denominators and intersecting literary worlds.

The famous Donau Lounge stage welcomed Pavol Rankov and his novel Matky / Mothers (Mütter – Der Weg der Wölfin durch den Gulag, Anthea Verlag, 2020) and Michal Hvorecký with his novel Tahiti Utópia (Tahiti. Utopia, Klett-Cotta Verlag, 2021). Both events, organized by LIC in collaboration with the Slovak Institute in Vienna and moderated by the outstanding Cornelius Hell, enjoyed a relatively large audience, which sparked a fruitful discussion and produced interesting observations of attentive central European readers. Jana Beňová participated in two further panels on the same stage.

Buch Wien had a more intimate character this year, but Slovakia’s attendance remains important in the future. There is no doubt that our presence at the book fair will result in many stimulating literary encounters. 

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