Croatian literature in Leipzig

Croatia was the guest country of last year's Leipziger Buchmesse, the biggest German book fair after the Frankfurter Buchmesse. A great opportunity to present Croatian literature to the (German speaking) world, one would say. The weekly Stern remarked that Croatia is a literary terra incognita for Germans: "No wonder," explained Stern, "as Croatian is a very young national language."
Croatia, however, blew it. Right before the fair a split occurred in the Croatian Writers Society. Members and a breakaway group of writers accused each other of "sabotage", "questionable morale" and the like. In addition, a journalist of Jutarnji list reported how Croatia's performance at the fair was pregnant with amateurism.
Fortunately, Croatia will get a second change as the Leipziger Buchmesse 2009 features the Balkans (and China). Oliver Zille, the fair's director, expressed his satisfaction with forty translated Croatian titles so far. He wants to exploit this "Swung" to the benefit other ex-Yugoslav republics, like Bosnia and Macedonia, that make their debut in Leipzig this year.
A Croatian author who has successfully entered the German market is Edo Popović. The paper Die Zeit interviewed Popović (in German) about his new novel Kalda. Popović was one of the main actors in the row within the Croatian Writers Society, but obviously not to his detriment.
Member of this year's representation in Leipzig will be Robert Perišić. With 1904 sold copies of his Naš čovjek na terenu in 2008 Perišić is by far the number one best selling Croatian author. Naš čovjek na terenu (meaning something like "Our man on the scene") offers us, according to the reviews, a cross-section of modern Croatian society. Something like Croatian Crescent, so to say. I'll let you know when this weblog has welcomed its 1905th visitor.

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