The publishing activities started in 1996 when the Student Organisation of the University of Ljubljana founded the Študentska založba Publishing House. In 2014 the Beletrina, a non-profit private institute was established to carry on publishing activities. The founders of a new enterprise were the members of the former Študentska založba team Mitja Čander, Tomaž Gerdina, Marko Hercog and Aleš Šteger, supported by writers Andrej Brvar, Milan Dekleva, Niko Grafenauer, Milan Jesih and Veno Taufer.
Its first two book editions, Translations and Scripta, offered an interesting study of literature that is still popular today. In 1997 it launched the series Claritas and Koda; the Claritas series covered translated texts from the field of philosophy, political science, sociology, history (Seneca, Hume, Moore, Brentano, Cassirer, Arendt, Siedentop) and contemporary texts by Slovene authors (Janez Strehovec, Igor Škamperle), while Koda focused on cybernetic culture and other sciences related to information society, bringing more than 20 publications (covering basic theories by the likes of Debord, Benjamin, Harraway, Sloterdijk, Negri and Hardt) to a Slovene readership. In 2010 the two series were consolidated into one (Koda), which is now the publishing house's main series focused on humanities.
Since 2003 the book series Beletrina has been published, a collection which covers titles of original literary works by Slovene authors and international authors in translation.
The list of contemporary Slovene authors includes among others Lojze Kovačič, Goran Vojnović, Miha Mazzini, Dušan Čater, Feri Lainšček and Boris Pahor, the list of translated authors is long: Bernardo Atxaga, Roberto Bolano, Maria Barbal, Pascal Bruckner, Ramon Gomez de la Serna, Gesualdo Bufalino, Jaume Cabre, Mia Couto, Anton Chekhov, Jonathan Franzen, David Grosmann, Michel Houellebecq, Bohumil Hrabal, Herta Müller, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Franz Kafka, Daniel Kehlmann, Enrique Vila-Matas, Jesus Moncada, Andrej Stasiuk, Flannery O’Connor, Erik Orsenna, Georges Perec, Sergio Pitol, W.G. Sebald, Zadie Smith, Goncalo Tavares, Miloš Urban, Dubravka Ugrešić, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Marguerite Yourcenar, Janice Galloway, etc.
Beletrina Publishing Institute, Janice Galloway - Clara, 2015
Festivals and workshops
Beletrina produces in February the World Literatures - Fabula Festival and in August the Days of Poetry and Wine Festival. They organise more than 100 literary events every year as well as autumn literary workshops for young poets and writers.
Gorazd Kocijančič reading his work at Days of Poetry and Wine Festival in Medana 2009
Beletrina cooperates with Fraktura from Zagreb (Croatia) and Magveto from Budapest (Hungary) in the Read Central initiative. The three publishers represent and promote quality literature from Central Europe online and at book fairs.
In 2014 Beletrina launched a European project Versopolis setting up a network of 11 literary festivals as a new platform to present emerging poets live and online.
National Museum of Contemporary History is a leading partner in the project founded in collaboration with the Beletrina Publishing Institute, MMC RTV Sloveniaa nd the Stiftung Berliner Mauer Monument in Berlin, the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the BIH History Museum) in Sarajevo and the 47/04 Institute in Gorizia called Behind the Walls: 1989–2019. Its aim is to discuss and share memories of shared places. Particular emphasis is placed on individual memory and the preservation of family stories in segregated urban settings.
Beletrina's literary translation project Stories that can change the World received support of the Creative Europe Programme in 2014. It comprises six books by renowned authors: Burmese days by George Orwell, Il male viene dal Nord by Fulvio Tomizza, Citadelle by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Mercier et Camier by Samuel Beckett are translated into Slovenian, while Goran Vojnović's Yugoslavia, My Homeland and Gabriela Babnik's Dry season will be soon available to English speaking audiences.
They are also part of project Reading the heart of Europe. Thirty high quality literary works will be translated into the target language for the first time from different European languages. The works focus is on the challenges facing an individual who, in a world of increasing conflicts, seeks common values, the "heart" of Europe, which everyone sees in their own way.
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