Among the over 950 exhibitors this year are authors from the diaspora communities and from Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Italy, China, the Netherlands, the USA, Slovenia, Serbia, Spain and the United Kingdom. Great offers are available from publishers Školska knjiga, Fraktura, Matrix Croatica, AGM, Golden marketing, Algoritam and others.

The Interliber book festival, staged this year from the 8th to 13th of November at pavilions number 5 and 6 of the Zagreb Grand Fairground, is a not-to-be-missed meeting of books and readers, says Ivana Žderić, an editor with leading publishing house Profil. For publishers it is also a key event – this year’s traditional peak of the culture season in the nation’s capital will see Profil release twenty new titles.

Editor Ante Žužul, the head of publisher Školska knjiga, the most powerful publisher in the country, is offering excellent titles from the fields of Croatian culture and linguistics, history, fiction, opinion journalism, the always present cookbooks and valuable works in the field of lexicography pooling authors from heterogeneous groups from the Croatian communities abroad from all corners of the planet. Among these are a 950-page anthology of Croatian poetry by academician Ante Stamać, Duško Kećkemet’s Life of Ivan Meštrović (1883–1962–2002) in a volume covering one and a half thousand pages, a book on the success in the USA of winemaker Miljenko Grgich and many more. Among the great and deserving in the world of books, Croatian culture institutions and society are not only Croatians born in the country, but also the descendants of Croatians born abroad. This fact is best seen in the five volume encyclopaedic edition Croatia and Europe: Culture, Science and the Arts, penned by experts from the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Školska knjiga as publisher, Ivan Supičić as the initiator of the project, the editors of the various volumes, editors from the various fields covered, writers and hundreds of associates from the homeland and the diaspora communities that have erected a monument to Croatia with this edition more durable than bronze (aere perrenius).

The most attractive writers with migrant backgrounds are showcased by publisher Fraktura, led by award-winning editor Seid Serdarević. This publishing house, based in the town of Zaprešić, has won our praise by bringing readers titles from over forty countries, including Nobel Prize winners and international literary stars like our prominent contemporary writers in the diaspora communities, including awarding winning Marica Bodrožić, Irena Vrkljan and Alida Brener (Germany), Neda Miranda Blažević (United States of America), Tena Štivičić (Great Britain) and Josip Mlakić, a prominent Croatian prose writer from Bosnia-Herzegovina. There is great interest for the publication of Fraktura titles abroad, led by last year’s publication of Dora and the Minotaur, a novel by Slavenka Drakulić, our most translated contemporary author and long time resident of Stockholm. The book examines the relationship between Dora Maar, a Croatian photographer and recognised surrealist artist living in Paris, and her partner, the famed painter Pablo Picasso.

When it comes to attractive titles covering topics dedicated to the tragic events that occurred during the totalitarian regimes that marked the twentieth century in the homeland, we should single out the Memoirs / Memories / Documents series published by the recognised Matrix Croatica publishing house which has released Nedjeljka Luetić-Tijan’s The Life of Pavao Tijan, detailing the work of this lexicographer and publicist who lived in Madrid for half a century and edited by Igor Zidić and Marija Tijan Wieck. This series has also produced The Life and Work of Ivan Meštrović and a book that details the memories and experiences of Jozo Kljaković titled In Contemporary Chaos. Another tome not to be missed is Life as an Emigree, the fantastic memoirs of American resident Karlo Mirth, edited by Igor Zidić a decade ago.

Publisher AGM editor Grozdana Cvitan noted that their stand at the festival offers affordable tomes of emigrant prose by authors of Croatian extraction the likes of Ramon Diaz Eterovic (Chile), Morgan Yasbincek (Australia), Oscar Barrientos Bradasic (Chile) and Jagoda Marinić (Germany), published jointly by leading Zagreb publisher AGM and the Croatian Heritage Foundation. The CHF is also a co-publisher of the magnificent Croatia Abroad collection, edited by Marin Sopta, Franjo Maletić and Josip Bebić – available at an affordable price at the stand of publisher Golden marketing – Tehnička knjiga. The title of this collection pays honour to the first and most cited book on Croatian emigrants, Većeslav Holjevac’s Croatians Abroad (1967). Holjevac was the most influential of the past directors of the Croatian Heritage Foundation and one of the chief figures of the national democratic faction within the 1960s/70s Croatian Spring movement, and was the first to expound on emigrant-related topics, advocating a clearer definition of Croatian national interests. After the publication in 1967 of the Declaration on the Name and Status of the Croatian Literary Language he was forced to withdraw from the political scene. The 643-page Croatia Abroad was printed last year and offers recent scholarly papers on the Croatian emigrant communities from the latest generation of researchers from universities from Sydney to Zagreb, from Toronto to Santiago de Chile – focused on the migrations of the modern era, including contemporary mobility and linguistic biography as studied by Aleksandra Šćukanec PhD of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Also available at the Golden marketing stand at a reasonable price is the most cited 504-page compendium on our half millennium of emigration — Čizmić, Šakić and Sopta’s Emigrant Croatia. The book is co-published by the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences. Also not to be missed is the first textbook on the Croatian diaspora in the twenty-first century, Professor Jadranka Grbić Jakopović’s The Multiplication of Native and Homelands / The Croatian Diaspora: Chronology, Destinations and Identity at the stand of Zajednica nakladnika Hrvatske, where the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences’ FF Press publishing arm is also showcasing its editions. Also available here is the collection (covering a total of 1,269 pages) on the traditional heritage and ethno-cultural identity of the Danube region Bunjevac Croatians edited by renowned researcher Milana Černelić from the department of ethnology and cultural anthropology of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences and an award winning collection by a group of Bunjevo Croatian authors that is born out of recent research by Zagreb professors and students in the Baja area. Also there is a new book by Castilia Manea-Grgin on the Croatian community in Romania written in an innovative historiographic style that this writer first presented in her doctoral dissertation. The book looks at the social development of the Romanian Croatians in Caraşova in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Publisher Zoran Bošković (a passionate researcher of Chilean writers of Croatian extraction) has offered an abundance of new titles. After Chile, Bošković’s authors are oriented towards the Croatian minority space, offering a unique philological study on the best known contemporary Gradišće Croat poet Jurica Čenar edited by Đuro Vidmarović.

At the Zajednica nakladnika and Croatian Writers’ Society stand you will find the book Stazom do riječi (By the Path to Words) and other titles penned by Željka Lovrenčić that delve into Croatica abroad, translation and Hispanic authors of Croatian extraction. This author’s approach to the world of books creates the synergy that is essential to the modern reader, who often in his or her digital environment only quickly scans hyper-textual platforms. The Stazom do riječi collection offers readers a look at fifty diverse writers from the diaspora communities that exist in classic and electronic books. Essay writer, philologist, translator and vice president of the Croatian Writers’ Society Željka Lovrenčić is skilled in linking that which appears disparate: for example internationally famed Chilean writer Ramona Diaz Eterović and Croatian playwright Miro Gavran; two masters of the short story – Chilean Oscar Barientos Bradašić and Croatian Nikola Đuretić; the Mekhitarist printing press in Vienna and the printing press in Punta Arenas of a revivalist among American Croatians Ivan Krstulović; a leading Peruvian sociologist of Italian extraction and a fruitful Chilean archaeologist of Croatian roots, the recently deceased Vjera Zlatar Montan; a generation of Nikolić’s émigré Croatian Review and the artists of the Hispanic world of his time; the eco-linguistic efforts of a Gradišće region Croat from Hungary Bernadette Zadrovich PhD and an original narrator of ethno-musicological phenomenon from Slovakia’s Čunovo Jivo Maz; Argentinean periodical writer Cristian Šprljan of Cordoba and the serial publications in Vojvodina of Tomislav Žigmanov from Subotica, and so forth. Lovrenčić is clearly geared towards readers from all generations, including the Y generation that grew up with the Internet and is creating some of the key global projects in the book world. Željka Lovrenčić is without a doubt also a member of this generation, which will form the future of the world of books. Also here is Božo Skoko’s book Hrvatska i susjedi (Croatian and its Neighbours), published by AGM. Political science graduate Skoko also recommends the trilogy of friar Vladimir Vlado Ereš, a missionary active in Switzerland. The Zajednica nakladnika stand also features the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences publication of Marin Sopta’s Hrvati u Kanadi (Croatians in Canada) and a number of titles by Tuga Tarle, including Hrvatski iseljenički duhopis (Croatian Emigrant Spiritualogue), printed with the support of the State Office for Croats Abroad.

Professor Marijeta Rajković Iveta of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences noted that, “Interliber is for the reading public and for all those enthusiastic about the world of books, a not-to-be-missed event. We are delighted, rapidly discovering an abundance of new titles appropriate for student literature and reading enjoyment; we are happy when visitors notice a book by an emigrant author and books that delve into the issue of the indigenous Croatian minorities in the countries of central and southeast Europe; we love seeing the crowds and talking with young people about books that cover contemporary mobility. We recommend to them some older titles and we simply adore the Internet!”

At the Interliber fair publishers are featuring a number of attractive titles, an abundance of prose, opinion journalism and children’s books by domestic and foreign authors – novels, translations of major international hits and testimonies to some of the most transformative events of our time, says Vesna Kukavica, the head of the CHF publishing department – books she has co-edited are to be found at the AGM stand.

Publisher Algoritam is offering some new editions of international bestsellers, including the books of famed writer of Croatian extraction Josip Novaković – after his stint in the USA he has now moved to Canada where he teaches creative writing at the University of Montreal.

Publisher Meandar Media is offering some important literary and opinion journalism titles, including the work of writer and translator Mario Šušak PhD who now lives in the United States of America. Among the new titles Meandar Media will showcase at the Interliber book fair the company’s chief editor Branko Čegec spotlighted Giorgio Pressburger’s Nel regno oscuro (In the Dark Kingdom), the first part of a trilogy, with the other two parts coming out soon in a single volume titled Storia Umana e Inumana (Human and Inhumane History). When it comes to opinion journalism among the new titles offered by Meandar Media there is Bill Reading’s The University in Ruins, about the processes that lead to the decay of the concept of the university and Hrvoje Turković’s Politikom po kulturi (Politics in Culture), a book of polemical articles that draw out a history of the relationship between politics and culture in examples from the film industry and cultural production in general.

In conclusion, says Mišo Nejašmić, the president of the Zajednice nakladnika i knjižara Hrvatske (Federation of Publishers and Bookstores of Croatia), three major events – the Interliber book fair, Infogamer by Reboot and the Inova fair are being staged at nine pavilions of the Zagreb Grand Fairgrounds from the 8th through to the 13th of November 2016, with over 950 exhibitors showcasing their products and services on 32 thousand square metres of exhibition space. Nejašmić notes that Interliber is the biggest book event in Croatia and pools the leading publishers and bookstores. The exhibitors come from twelve countries – Croatia, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Italy, China, the Netherlands, the USA, Slovenia, Serbia, Spain and the United Kingdom – including authors from the Croatian diaspora communities. He added that a new aspect of this year’s Interliber is the opening of a gallery in Pavilion 5 where there will be daily meet the author events and various creative and education programmes. Nejašmić notes that the northern section of Pavilion 6 this year also features a popular education “Science District”.

Text by: Vesna Kukavica