SLAVIC BOOK FESTIVAL IN BELGRADE
6 nov 2015
2nd Slavic book holiday took place in Belgrade (Serbia) on 26-28th of October. This year it was a part of the Belgrade International Book Fair.
The first festival of Slavic book publishing was held in Moscow a year ago on the initiative of the Publishers Association of Russia (PAR). Its presentation was held at MIBEF 2014. The participants of the festival were Slavic publishers from 12 countries. An exhibition of new books from Russia, Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and the Russian-language publishers in Estonia, Latvia, Uzbekistan, Moldova, was held, as well as a "round table" meeting of heads of publishing houses. The central point of the festival was the competition for the title of the best childrens book in Slavic languages, dedicated to the history and culture of the Slav peoples, revealing the first winners from Russia, Serbia, Belarus, Bulgaria.
The current exhibition has been modest, but interesting publications from Serbia, Russia, Slovakia, Belarus, Croatia, Slovenia were presented. These publications included tales (including collections of Slavic folklore), novelties from childrens art, cognitive, encyclopaedias and other areas. Books of different genres, styles, size but similar in aesthetics, delicate style and thoroughness of publishing preparations. An international jury considered 17 submitted publications and awarded 7 diplomas for winners from the publishing houses "Pchelitsa" (Cacak, Serbia), "Creative Centar" (Belgrade, Serbia), "Walking in history" (Moscow, Russia), "The Zvezda" (Minsk, Belarus ), "Mladinska book" (Ljubljana, Slovenia), "Klett Profile" (Zagreb, Croatia), "Perfect" (Bratislava, Slovakia). Another 2 diplomas for nominees were awarded to Detgiz"(St. Petersburg, Russia),"Volkhonka Art"(Moscow, Russia) and 1 special diploma - to "Euro-Giunti "(Belgrade, Serbia).
Publishers from Ukraine, Macedonia and the Russian-language publishers in Estonia and Latvia did not participate this time, but expressed their support for the idea of contest and festival. The ceremony of announcing and awarding the winners of the contest drew an audience of experts of Slavonic philoloy and book lovers.
During the visit, PAR representatives paid a visit to a leading library of Serbia - "Matica Srpska" in Novi-Grad; talks on the relations development, the possibility of presentations and Russian literature comissions were held. Management of the library had an idea about the presentation practices of the PAR, and with reference to the previous PAR exhibition in the National Library of Slovenia expressed its interest in hosting a presentation in 2016 in Novi Sad, with the participation of Russian regional publishers.
The Belgrade Book Fair was held for the 60th time (at this time Russia was the guest of honor) and was a good platform for the realization of the ideas of Slavic publishing cooperation. Meeting of heads of participating publishing houses has developed several important principles for future competitions: the use of the winners brand in the advertising for the awarded publishers, the mutual obligations of participating publishers for the acquisition of rights for the subsequent translation of book-winners, preparation and mutual proposal of reference lists of literature on the history and culture of Slavic people, alternately holding of the Slavic literary festival in the capital or the historical and cultural centers of the Slavic countries.
In preparations for this years festival, the political situation manifested. The publishing associations from a number of countries "did not hear" an invitation to the second Forum and didnt give their proposals and books. I think such a reaction is limited in time. Publishers from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Poland do not enjoy special attention and do not receive any preferential treatment on the European book market, but they have their rightful place in the Slavic exchange of book culture.
Ethnic kinship, linguistic and historical closeness of Slavic Cultures is a sufficient basis for the development of relations between the best publishers of the Slavic countries. A lot of people are involved in this work, not only publishers but also librarians, book advocates, representatives of relevant ministries, representatives of training centers. Festival in all its forms (exhibitions, discussions, competition, meeting with the audience) can give an impulse to the reanimation of the active and systematical interaction of the East European publishers and book distributors. Such a prospect, I think, is interesting to all parties in a practical sense. The potential of publishing schools and literature from, for example, Serbia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland is such that it can meet the needs of publishers in other countries in the international market of copyright for more than a year. Russian publishers and literary agents need to reflect on this. Of course, the Slavic literary festival and its competition provide informational and organizational ground for international promotional activities for Russian literature.
Another PAR initiative is associated with this - the organization of various formats of meetings and discussions during the "round table" meetings of Russian foreign publishers at this time - as a part of the Assembly of the Russian world, held annually by the "Russian world" Fund. We find this event helpful because of the rare opportunity to get Russian-language publishers from different countries together. In past years, the Board of the Association managed to unite the Russian publishers from a number of countries on the fairgrounds, competitions, meetings or seminars - in Moscow (on MKVYA), Leipzig, Paris on several occasions. The Coordinating Council was established for Russian foreign publishers. This work must continue in the future, it is necessary in the general cultural terms, and it will bear fruit.
A "round-table" discussion was held in Suzdal on november 3rd, with participating publishers from CIS and foreign countries - Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Spain, the USA, Holland, Georgia, Austria and the main theme of it was "The role of Russian foreign publishers in preserving the authority and influence of Russian book culture abroad." Russian book and literary magazines publishers from these (and other) countries - our resource in the implementation of cultural policies. Among the participants - authoritative, more established publishers from France ("Russian Literature" magazine), Latvia ("Rhetoric-A" publisher), Estonia ("KPD") and re-emerging - ("Editore Munich manufactories" publisher), actively working - " Raritet" (Kyrgyzstan) and "redko, no metko "- publishing house "Atenea"(Spain). All of them perform a very important humanitarian mission of the Russian literary culture. It is also important to understand the conditions, objectives and benefits of their work, their peculiar experience.
The views exchange was very lively, the participants presented their editorial, advertising and distributional experience. Social, institutional environment, economic opportunities are very different in different countries. In some places the publishers have to work despite the political circumstances. But all participants agreed on the necessity for such meetings and on the use of the unified information channel, unified platform for business proposals and discussed the possibility of using the PAR website for these matters. In the near future this column should appear on the website of the Association, the first material on the Russian-language journals and publishers in Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan is already in the workings. More about the holiday can be found on this link.
O.V.Filimonov, vice president of PAR.