LJUBLJANA

Designated: 2015
Population: 280,000
Languages: Slovenian, English


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FAST FACTS

Ljubljana is home to 35 public libraries, including 142 specialised libraries, 2,628,810 books in the National and University Library of Slovenia, and 14 theatres. There are more than 250 associations, institutions, and organizations promoting literature that have their seat in Ljubljana, including the Slovenian Book Agency, the Slovene Publishers Society and the Slovenian Association of Literary Translators. Ljubljana also has three literary houses: Trubar Literature House, Vodnik Homestead and Poetry Centre Tomaž Šalamun.

Over a quarter of Ljubljana’s population are members of the city’s public library network. Ljubljana City Library has over 84,000 members, giving it the biggest membership of all the libraries in Slovenia. On average, every inhabitant visits the City Library five times per year. Ljubljana’s largest collection of books, the National and University Library of Slovenia, was designed by architect Joze Plečnik and holds a collection of works by some of the most important Slovenian poets and writers.


Ljubljana was named the 10th UNESCO World Book Capital in 2010 for one year. During that year, books and reading were the central theme of events and media attention across Slovenia. In that same year, the city gained a new house of literature named after Primož Trubar where special events dedicated to the book, literature, and journalism continue to take place every day of the year.

Ljubljana has been a member of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) since 2011.

During World War II, the city was the centre of an illegal literary resistance movement which saw graphic houses printing propaganda but also publishing literary works at this time of great unrest and distress.

COLLABORATION WITH OTHER CITIES

 

One of the greatest advantages of being in the Cities of Literature network is to share experience and knowledge. Collaboration with the other Cities also happens in the form of exchange and promotion of authors. World Poetry Day is celebrated with poetry events throughout Ljubljana and other Cities of Literature.

SUMMER ON BIG SCREEN AND AMONG THE COVERS

 

Each year, at the end of August, Ljubljana co-hosts a four-day open-air festival of film and books with a pop-up bookshop (featuring books that were made into films or series), talks on books and films, plus a screening of a film based on books, open-air ‘Library under the treetops’, together with the Slovenian Cinematheque.

 

LIBRARY UNDER THE TREETOPS

One of the most popular national projects for spreading the reading culture was developed from a simple idea of integration of reading and relaxing. It starts at the end of May and with interesting accompanying events lasts until the end of August.

BOOK FAIRS

The Open-Air Book Fair is located in the garden of the Slovene Writers' Association. For three days, 50 publishers offer their best and newest editions, with the accompanying program allowing visitors to further delve into the work of both authors and publishers. The Couch Fair, an online book fair, takes place in April around World Book Day. It is an online bookstore with most Slovenian publishers offering more than 500 carefully selected books. Both fairs are organized by the Ljubljana City of Literature office.

BOOK FESTIVALS

Slovene Book Fair in November. Since 1972, the fair has, in 35 editions, brought together more than a hundred publishers, tens of thousands of visitors, international guests, local and foreign authors, and schools.

Vilenica International Literary Festival in Ljubljana

The Vilenica International Literary Festival is a traditional meeting of poets, novelists, drama and essay writers from Central Europe, organized since 1986.

 

The Tinta Comics Festival brings together diverse authors from the Slovenian comics scene with the intention of popularization of comics.

 

Literature Alive (Živa književnost). Small, but charming and cherished international festival blends literature and music.

 

The Ignor Festival connects literature, sound, visual arts and performance.

 

December Illustration Fair brings together illustrations of the most prominent Slovenian authors across generations and artistic styles.

 

Fabula - Literature of the World festival is the biggest and most visited literary festival in Slovenia and the wider region. It has hosted many modern classics: Herta Müller, Irvine Welsh, Jonathan Franzen, Deborah Levy, Hanif Kureishi, Janice Galloway, Richard Flanagan, and many others.

 

 

RESIDENCIES

 

In May 2017 Ljubljana opened a renovated hotel Švicarija (‘Swisshouse’) in the main public park. It offers a temporary space to twelve local artists to create and perform. The residency and public programmes focus on interdisciplinarity, and address the wider public, introduce educational programmes, and develop the potential for the Swisshouse to become a place for creativity and entertainment. In 2018, Ljubljana started its first literary residency in the Swisshouse (two one-month residencies per year) for authors from other UNESCO Cities of Literature.

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