Vilenica International Literary Festival

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Vilenica International Literary Festival
Ambassador Mussomeli at 29th Vilenica Festival September 2014.jpg
Photographs from the 2014 edition of Vilenica International Literary Festival
GenreCentral European literature
Beginsearly September
Location(s)Vilenica Cave and other locations in Slovenia
Inaugurated1986; 32 years ago (1986)
Organised bySlovene Writers' Association and the Cultural Centre Vilenica
The Crystal Vilenica award ceremony takes place in Štanjel Castle

Vilenica International Literary Festival (Slovene: Mednarodni literarni festival Vilenica) is a festival dedicated to literature that was founded in 1986 in Slovenia. It takes place annually in several locations on the Karst Plateau in the Slovene Littoral, including inside Vilenica Cave. It is arranged by the Slovene Writers' Association together with the Cultural Centre Vilenica from Sežana. The highlight of the festival is the awarding of the Vilenica International Literary Prize to a Central European author for "outstanding achievements in the field of literature and essay writing."

Background and events[edit]

The festival was arranged for the first time in 1986[1] and was co-founded by Veno Taufer, who is still a member of the prize awarding jury.[2] Originally it was simply called "Vilenica Festival" but since 2005 it is formally called "Vilenica International Literary Festival". From the outset, it was the outspoken purpose of the organisers to promote "cultural pluralism, tolerance and non-aggression", and at that time to provide an opportunity for the literary community from both sides of the Iron Curtain to meet and exchange ideas.[3]

According to the statutes of the festival, it aims to be a "gathering of poets, writers, dramatists and essayists as well as editors, publishers and cultural managers and translators from Central European countries." Central Europe is loosely defined by the festival organisers as ranging "from the Baltic to the Adriatic, from Bern to Belgrade". The statutes notes that participants from countries outside Central Europe also are welcome to the festival. The official languages of the festival are Slovene, German and English.[3] The festival incorporates many different events such as book readings in several different locations across Slovenia, discussions, seminars, a book fair and so on.[3][2] The highlight of the festival is the ceremony in which the Vilenica International Literary Prize is awarded to a winner, announced beforehand, for "outstanding achievements in the field of literature and essay writing".[1][3][4] The prize consists of a monetary gift of 10,000 euros (in 2016) and in addition, a book by the author is translated into Slovene and published in the country.[2][5] The winner is chosen by a jury consisting of experts in the field of literature.[5] Financial support for the award is given by the Government of Slovenia and the Municipality of Sežana, as well as by private sponsors.[6] Apart from the main prize, two other awards are also handed out under the auspices of the festival. The Crystal Vilenica award is similarly to the main prize awarded to an author from Central Europe, but by a jury consisting of the festival guests and not the organisers. The winner is awarded a minor piece of art and an invitation to participate at the Cúirt International Festival of Literature in Galway, Ireland.[3] The Young Vilenica award is given by the Cultural Centre Vilenica to three young writers from different age categories. The winners are awarded crystal pens and get their work published in the "Young Vilenica Almanac". The winners also get the opportunity to participate at the International Poetry Festival in Limerick, also on Ireland.[5]

The festival takes place in several locations, including inside Vilenica Cave near the villages of Lokev and Lipica on the Karst Plateau in the Slovene Littoral.[1][3] The main event of the festival, the ceremony of awarding the Vilenica International Literary Prize, takes place inside the cave.[1][3][5] The award ceremony for the Crystal Vilenica prize is inside Štanjel Castle.[3] The festival usually takes place in early September.[1][3]

Vilenica International Literary Prize winners[edit]

Recipients of the Vilenica International Literary Prize, the most prestigious prize given at the festival.[3]

Year Picture Laureate Country
1986 Fulvio Tomizza.jpg Fulvio Tomizza Flag of Italy.svg Italy
1987 Peter-handke.jpg Peter Handke Flag of Austria.svg Austria
1988 Péter Esterházy 2010.jpg Péter Esterházy Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary
1989 Jan Skácel birthplace memorial, Brno 03.JPG Jan Skácel Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Czech Republic
1990 20070320 Tomas Venclova by Kubik 01.JPG Tomas Venclova Flag of Lithuania.svg Lithuania
1991 Zbigniew Herbert.jpg Zbigniew Herbert Flag of Poland.svg Poland
1992 Milan Kundera redux.jpg Milan Kundera Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Flag of France.svg Czech Republic/France
1993 Libuše Moníková Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Flag of Germany.svg Czech Republic/Germany
1994 Josip Osti Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Bosnia and Herzegovina
1995 Adolf Muschg, 2008.jpg Adolf Muschg Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
1996 Adam Zagajewski 2014.jpg Adam Zagajewski Flag of Poland.svg Poland
1997 Svět knihy 2011 - Pavel Vilikovský.jpg Pavel Vilikovský [sk] Flag of Slovakia.svg Slovakia
1998 Péter Nádas - Festivaletteratura 2012.JPG Péter Nádas Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary
1999 Erica Pedretti Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
2000 Slavko Mihalić [hr] Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia
2001 Kaplinski, Jaan.IMG 9426.JPG Jaan Kaplinski Flag of Estonia.svg Estonia
2002 UE ART 2011.zambind.JPG Ana Blandiana Flag of Romania.svg Romania
2003 Mirko Kovač Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia
2004 Brigitte Kronauer auf dem Blauen Sofa 2005.jpg Brigitte Kronauer Flag of Germany.svg Germany
2005 P1030697 IlmaRakusa.JPG

Vienna 2010-09-29 - Odeon - Karl-Markus Gauß.jpg
Ilma Rakusa [de] and Karl-Markus Gauß Flag of Switzerland.svg Flag of Austria.svg Switzerland (Rakusa) and Austria (Gauß)
2006 Миодраг Павловић.jpg Miodrag Pavlović Flag of Serbia.svg Serbia
2007 Goran Stefanovski Flag of Macedonia.svg Republic of Macedonia
2008 Stasiuk1.jpg Andrzej Stasiuk Flag of Poland.svg Poland
2009 Friedenspreis-ffm-2009-magris-012-a.jpg Claudio Magris Flag of Italy.svg Italy
2010 Dževad Karahasan.jpg Dževad Karahasan Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Bosnia and Herzegovina
2011 Mircea Cărtărescu, Göteborg Book Fair 2013 2 (crop).jpg Mircea Cărtărescu Flag of Romania.svg Romania
2012 David Albahari auf dem Blauen Sofa 2.jpg David Albahari Flag of Serbia.svg Serbia
2013 Olga Tokarczuk.JPG Olga Tokarczuk Flag of Poland.svg Poland
2014 Krasznahorkai,-Lázló koen-stadtgarten 031116 1.jpg László Krasznahorkai Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary
2015 Topol2.jpg Jáchym Topol Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Czech Republic
2016 DubravkaUgresic.jpg Dubravka Ugrešić Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia
2017 Yurii Andrukhovych 2015.jpg Yurii Andrukhovych Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine
2018 Ilija Trojanow-1329.jpg Ilija Trojanow Flag of Bulgaria.svg Flag of Germany.svg Bulgaria/Germany


  1. ^ a b c d e "Vilenica". Slovene Writers' Association. Archived from the original on 27 August 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Croatian writer Dubravka Ugrešić to receive prestigious Vilenica Prize". Slovenia Times. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "About Vilenica". Vilenica International Literary Festival. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Croatian writer Dubravka Ugrešić to receive prestigious Vilenica Prize". Slovenian Press Agency (STA). 25 May 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d "Vilenica International Literary Awards". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  6. ^ Hartley, Cathy (2002). The Europa Directory of Literary Awards and Prizes. Routledge. p. 363. ISBN 978-1-85743-146-9.

External links[edit]