07/08/09 June 2019 – Belgrade
Belgrade – Kombank dvorana, Dom omladine
Debate program: CZKD, Birčaninova 21
László Krasznahorkai, Svetislav Basara, Goran Marković, Miljenko Jergović, Zoran Kesić, Vladimir Tabašević, Georgi Gospodinov, Lana Bastašić, Jan Wagner, Bojan Babić, Ana Ristović, Rumena Bužarovska, Maria Barnas and many others.
During the first evening of the eleventh edition of the literary festival KROKODIL writers such as Vladimir Tabašević, whose novel won this year’s NIN prize, Rumena Bužarovska, a writer from North Macedonia, and one of the most distinguished contemporary authors, Bojan Babić, presented their work through a public reading while the sofa-interview was reserved for the legendary film and theater director and writer Goran Marković. Michel Houellebecq, who was also supposed to participate in the festival’s first evening, could not come due to technical reasons, but actor Boris Isaković read an excerpt from Houellebecq’s latest novel, „Serotonin“.
One of the renowned European authors today, Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov, presented his work during the festival’s second evening. Lana Bastašić, a young Bosnian writer who lives in Barcelona, Spain, read from her first novel „Uhvati zeca“ („Catch the Rabbit“), while popular comedian Zoran Kesić and the satirical fake news website crew Njuz.net were in charge of providing comic relief between the writers’ 39 presentations.
The highlight of the festival’s second evening was the presentation of László Krasznahorkai, one of the most important and most translated Hungarian novelists. In his discussion with Marko Čudić, Krasznahorkai talked about his writing, characterized by an apocalyptic, ironic and parodical overview of contemporary Hungary and the contemporary world.
The focus of the festival’s second evening was also the joint performance of two distinguished regional authors, Miljenko Jergović from Croatia and Svetislav Basara from Serbia. A special feature of this year’s festival was the presentation of a large anthology of European poetry, recently published in Germany as „Grand Tour – Europe in Poems“, edited by Jan Wagner and Federico Italiano. During both evenings of the festival, the two of them presented this unique journey through the contemporary poetry of Europe via the work of some of the most distinguished poets in the collection, among whom are Maria Barnas from the Netherlands, Gabor Schein from Hungary, as well as the well-known Serbian poet Ana Ristović and Anja Golob from Slovenia. The entire program was moderated by Mima Simić.
The festival’s debate program was held on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 at 12pm in Belgrade’s Centre for Cultural Decontamination. This year, festival KROKODIL, as usual, prepared various public debates in which participating writers and other artists dealt with some of the most pressing social and political topics from the perspective of culture.
The discussion called „Neighbors – Facing the present“ opened this year’s debate program on Saturday, June 8 at 12pm. Rumena Bužarovska from Northern Macedonia, Kozmin Perta from Romania, Ferenc Cinki from Hungary, Georgi Gospodinov from Bulgaria and Lana Bastašić from Bosnia and Herzegovina talked about the sharp rise of far right movements and the resurgence of nationalism, as well as protectionism motivated by the economic crisis and migrant waves from the Middle East.
At the second debate, dedicated to the „Grand Tour“ anthology, on Saturday, June 8 at 2pm, some of the most important European poets discussed the role of poets and poetry in times of dissipation of existing values. Following the project „Languages and Nationalisms“, which dealt with the complex question of the reality of the existence of four political languages in the region of the former Yugoslavia, as well as its grand finale – the now very well known „Declaration on the Common Language“, Association KROKODIL launched the new project called „Common Library“. This project also deals with the subject of language but this time from the angle of literature and essay. On Sunday, June 9 at 12pm we organized a discussion on the topics of a common library and the possibility of common literature, or the literature of the common language instead of national or even ethnic literary selections. Participants included Igor Štiks, Vladimir Arsenijević, Miljenko Jergović and Lana Bastašić.
On Sunday, June 9, at 7pm at the KROKODIL Center, there was a performance by a group of young poets dedicated to oral poetry. These presentations were preceded by four days of workshops which were moderated by renowned artists from Switzerland, Serbia and Kosovo, centered around the program called The World Literary Forum. For the third year in a row, the KROKODIL festival had a humanitarian character. This year, we presented the cause „For Superhero Babies“ and invited the audience to donate to the activities of the Institute of Neonatology in Belgrade, Serbia. The team working in the Intensive care unit of the Belgrade Institute of Neonatology – Dr. Hajdarpašić, Dr. Stoiljković, Dr. Jovanović, Dr. Kovačević and others – relentlessly work around the clock to help prematurely born babies to survive and grow.
The dedication, effort and love of these experts are immeasurable as well as their expertise and conscience. But this is not all that these superhero babies need. Respirators and tubes and infusion pumps are just some of the things that the Institute of Neonatology is missing.
Organizer: Association KROKODIL
Support: Ministry of Culture and Information, Tourist organization of the City Municipality of Savski venac, Museum of Yugoslavia, Insitut français de Serbie, Goethe-institut, Kulturforum Belgrad, Prohelvetia Allainzkulturstiftung, Deutsche Akademie für Sprache un Dichtung, Traduki, forum ZFD, CCFD Terres Solidaires, Booka, Geopoetika, Zepter, Prostoria.
The program was realized under the guise of the Reading Balkans project which is co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Union and under the project CSO activism for regional reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia – In Support of RECOM, supported by the European Union.
Partners: Festival of the European Short Story, Goten, SZÉPÍRÓK TÁRSASÁGA, Polip festival and Bern ist überall.
Media partners: Nedeljnik, Danas, City magazin, Laguna radio, Play radio
Technical production: Marsh Creative Production.