Frankfurt Book Fair 2019: Croatia and Rijeka 2020 in the Heart of Europe


The year 2020 is undeniably going to be a very important one for Croatia. In the first half of the year, Croatia is taking over the Council Presidency of the EU – an opportunity to put diversity and human rights at the heart of political and cultural dialogue. Following this, in February Rijeka will be pronounced the European Capital of Culture 2020. Under the motto “Port of Diversity”, Rijeka will introduce its multicultural heritage and contemporary cultural scene to a broad European audience.

This unique political and cultural constellation is an excellent opportunity to discuss a wide array of questions: How does the European literary field function? Is there a European literary network and if so, how are Croatia and Rijeka positioned within it? Can literary festivals and literary networks increase the awareness of diversity and alterity within the European context? These questions will be discussed by Roman Simić, the founder and director of the Festival of European Short Story, and Caroline Michel from Hay Festival, who will present an important literary cooperation taking place in Rijeka in the June of 2020 and introduce the project “Europa 28”, which is aimed at emphasizing the contribution of women in Europe in the fields of literature, science and art.

The Festival of European Short Story was founded in 2002 in Zagreb. Since then, over 150 authors from more than 15 European countries have participated in the festival, which has become an integral part of the Croatian literary scene. One of the key features of the festival is that it always takes place not only in the Croatian capital, but also in a smaller, partner town in Croatia. Since 2015, this has been Rijeka and in the year 2020 the two cities will trade their roles: Zagreb is going to be the partner city, whereas Rijeka will become the focal point of numerous literary and cultural events that will draw attention to questions of diversity and human rights.

One of the most important events in this respect will be the presentation of the project “Europa 28 – Visions for the Future”, which FESS realized in collaboration with Hay Festival, one of the most respected European literary festivals famous for taking place at different locations around the globe. The project encompasses texts written by 28 prominent women authors, artists, scientists etc., one from each country of the European Union. A trip to Rijeka in June 2020 will therefore be not only a unique literary experience, but also an opportunity to widen the rich and diverse cultural landscape of Europe.

Date: Thursday, October 17, 19:00
Place: Kreativ-Agentur plan-J, Kleyerstraße 46-48, 60326 Frankfurt am Main
Participants: Roman Simić (Festival of European Short Story), Caroline Michel (Hay Festival), Jelena Spreicer (moderator)

Access: free of charge (with the fair ticket)
Language: English