Video presentations of the last five book editions
14. 9. 2022
Litteræ Slovenicæ is the international home to 159 authors, 165 translators and 76 books from Slovenia in 10 languages.
The last 5 book editions in the Litterae Slovenicae collection are now also presented in video format, where Slovenian authors Peter Svetina, Jedrt Maležič, Tone Škrjanec, Lidija Dimkovska and Uroš Zupan present themselves. All of them also take us into their book world, whether in the playful and mischievous world of The Lumber Room (Ropotarna, Peter Svetina), the stigmatized topic of mental health with the Heavy Mentals (Težkomentalci, Jedrt Maležič), we can immerse ourselves in the focus on the sensory perceptions of the poetry collection Skin (Koža, Tone Škrjanec) or learn about the shocking story of the fate of two siamese twins and their struggle for individuality, privacy and a separate life in the novel A Spare Life (Rezervno življenje, Lidija Dimkovska), or we can let ourselves be carried away by Zupan’s selection of poems, which covers more than two dozen years of poetic creation, and sail back and forth with the poetry collection Slow Sailing (Počasna plovba, Uroš Zupan).
Something for every book taste.
You are invited to watch the presentation videos!
 The videos are also subtitled in English and German.
Aus der Rumpelkammer (The Lumber Room) by Peter Svetina combines longish and short tales, short stories about people and things, and poems and miniature texts in which he plays with language, sometimes approaching nonsense literature. The different literary types, genres and forms are moved in an intentionally unruly order and rhythm, meaning that the author does away with horizons of exception. Each new text is, thus, a veritable surprise for the reader. For example, after a tremendous build-up in one of the long tales, we can catch our breath as we read the subsequent poem, before, just moments later, enjoying the author’s characteristic wit or simply reveling in the sounds of his verbal acrobatics. The illustrations by Damijan Stepančič provide additional surprises as he illustrates each text and highlights the different text types in this unique book.
Translated into German by Liza Linde, Jens Sakelšek.
This collection of twenty-one short stories in Heavy Mentals by Jedrt Lapuh Maležič, which can also be read as a novel since the tales are connected, is entirely set in a psychiatric institution, where the predominantly first-person narrator is often, in several waves, brought in and hospitalized. As is typical of Lapuh Maležič, the very title of the book is distorted and suggestive, as she hints along with the mental also at strain, difficulty, while flirting with a more established term for members of the heavy metal music subculture. At the forefront of the narrative are, thus, individuals who are problematic – also for themselves, not just for society – and who find themselves in psychiatric treatment. And sometimes it is difficult for them to recall their past transgressions, which require therapy that can be quite radical, violent, leaving visible and psychological traces of submission. Just as radical are the side effects of the powerful antipsychotics to which the subject, the object of this therapy, is subjected in a few of the stories; these are cycles of little deaths, and often violent injections or involuntary taking of pills is described as a way of dying, as a toppling into the abyss, as a temporary shutdown. But the collection also bears the opposite of this weighty and sharp metaphor: it is playful and relaxed in its linguistic movement; often in these stories one sees the ambiguous and the polysemous mixing sublimely and pathetically with the most poignant of refrains and references from mass culture that are evoked by popular songs and references to such mass culture icons as Roberto Benigni or Carlos Castanedo.
Translated into Spanish by Marjeta Drobnič.
A Spare Life (Reseveleben, Lidija Dimkovska) is a harrowing story about the fate of conjoined twin girls with adjoined heads and telling names – Zlata and Srebra (Gold and Silver). It is also about their struggle for individuality, privacy and separate lives. Their personal drama takes place between 1984 and 2012 and spans between Skopje and London, while also including events that are not only part of personal but also about collective memory and history. The story told by Zlata begins one June afternoon in 1984 on the outskirts of Skopje, where it also ends, in August 2012. The main characters play a game of prophecy with a friend: who will they marry? where and when? how many children will they have? will their husband will be poor? rich? even a billionaire? At the beginning of the novel, Srebra and Zlata play the game; at the end, Zlata’s daughters Marta and Marija play it. Things come full circle – 28 years of life, growing up, suffering, love and hatred. The separation of the twins coincides with the separation of the former Yugoslav republics. A Spare Life is a novel about love, history, politics, the times we live in, and about people we can identify with.
Translated into German by Alexander Sitzmann.
A very special voice in Slovene poetry, Tone Škrjanec has, from the start, also walked a solitary path. Indeed, we could say he is an author from the periphery, and it is precisely for this reason that Škrjanec has gained an eminent appellation, namely, as someone who stands for authentic individualism. His poems have changed little in their basic position over the years, and many a keen reader has claimed that he is a poet who is always writing one and the same poem. The collection Skin is fully and wholly integrated into his oeuvre, with its free verse, slow, reflective rhythms, collage technique, sensitivity to the tiniest beings and details, and its overtly sensual language; it is replete with every shade of colour, ranging from the warmest to the extremely cold, but, like silver, it is no less beautiful for that – and beauty remains an essential category for Škrjanec’s poetry. This is a language that is full not only of colours but also of smells, sounds and the material: the world enters Škrjanec’s poetry in all its liveliness and vividness. Skin was originally published in 2006 and has been celebrated by critics and a wide circle of readers alike as the finest of poetry. It brought Škrjanec to an extremely large circle of readers that, rather than narrowing, continues to expand. Indeed many of his poems from Skin have been anthologized.
Translated into German by Ann Catrin Bolton.
Slow Sailing presents the author’s Uroš Zupan‘s own selection of the best of his best. This collection, which covers a period of more than two dozen years, is both personal and stern, since the author deals with his own poetry. From his delving into the golden age of his individual past to a sensuous hymn to soft summer light and the miracle of life that does not exist without the arts, Slow Sailing invites us to discover and re-discover one of post-independence Slovenia’s most distinctive poetic voices, while also offering a unique insight into Slovenian poetry at the turn of the millennium. The greatest Slovenian poet of the middle generation, his work has not been translated much (and not at all into English); the book is already part of the Slovenian canon and contains Zupan’s own selection of his finest poems.
Translated into English by Michael Biggins.