World Literatures – Fabula Festival

4. 03. - 15. 04. 2022



Literature sveta - Fabula

Kersnikova ulica 4 SI-1000, Ljubljana

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Fabula Festival – Literature of the World festival is one of the biggest and most visited literary festival in Slovenia and the wider region. The Fabula Festival has been organised since 2004 by Beletrina Publishing Institute (alias Študentska založba Publishing House up to 2014). It has hosted many modern classic, including the Nobel prize winning author Herta Müller, Irvine Welsh, Jonathan Franzen, Hanif Kureishi, Janice Galloway, Amitav Ghosh, David Grossman, Richard Flanagan, Taiye Selasi, Tatiana Tolstoy, Eric Vuillard, Rachel Cusk, Bernhard Schlink, and Vladimir Sorokin.

Apart from the central literary guests, the accompanying programme enriches the festival every year, hosting the biggest thinkers of our time. The complete festival programme is designed for all generations and is accessible to every visitor. In the time of the festival, five books of the visiting authors are published in a special Fabula collection.


The Fabula Festival has been organised since 2004 by Študentska založba Publishing House (today Beletrina Publishing Institute) in collaboration with Dnevnik Publishing House and since 2013 in collaboration with Radio-Television Slovenia (RTV Slovenia).

The festival started off as a Fabula Festival of Stories, taking place in several cities round Slovenia. The 3rd Fabula Festival of Stories 2006 hosted in three weeks 10 world-famous writers – Milorad Pavić from Serbia; Miljenko Jergović, Krešimir Mišanović, Krešimir Bagić, and Robert Perišić from Croatia; Claudio Magris and Diego Marani from Italy; Georgi Gospodinov from Bulgaria; Kader Abdolah from the Netherlands; and Toby Litt from the United Kingdom – who presented their work at more than 20 literary events. A public discussion entitled Dramatisation of Novels took place at the Slovene National Theatre Drama Ljubljana. Also accompanying the festival were a panel discussion about Slovene and Croatian fiction entitled Jeziki mesta [Urban Languages], and a conference on film stories. In 2007 the theme of the festival was Death and the festival featured some panel discussions involving artists, doctors, sociologists, and anthropologists.

World Literatures Fabula Festivals

World Literatures Fabula Festivals over the years hosted many well-known writer’s and covered many pressing literary, political and philosophical issues. Fabula Festival is a unique celebration of the arts and libraries and their power to transform lives, here are some of festivals.

World Literatures – Fabula Festival 2010 was one of the core events of the World Book Capital Ljubljana 2010. The festival hosted Herta Müller, David Grossman, Jonathan Franzen, Michal Viewegh, Daniel Kehlmann, and Richard Flanagan and presented the new translation of their works into Slovenian language. Screenings of the films based on the works by Fabula guests took place in Kinodvor Cinema.

The festival programme brought the book and literature into the streets and squares of the city: the promenade at Breg Street in the old city centre turned into the authors’ cities: the words, music, film and smells depicted the cultures of New York, Jerusalem, Prague, Vienna, and Sydney. Music concerts featured the Chili dogs, Keel Klezmer Band, Godalika, Saxophone quartet 4saxess, AHIMSAUrban band, as well as a huge choir event: eighteen Slovene choirs accompanied by the Philharmonics orchestra sang works by Slovene poets. Secondary school students wrote down Prešeren’s epic Krst pri Savici [Baptism at the Savica] on the Ljubljana promenade in free typographic forms, accompanied by the rap authors Boštjan Gorenc – Pižama and Klemen Klemen.

In 2011 the festival “World Literatures – Fabula 2011” hosted César Aira, Niccolò Ammaniti, Per Olov Enquist, Cristoph Ransmayr, Drago Jančar, and Margriet de Moor. Again the festival presented a fabric of talks, books, and the related films, sounds, fairy tales, and images of the writers’ countries. The topic of Islam was dealt with by connoisseurs from Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Turkey, the latter being the country in focus within The International Within the Local, a poetry and translation project. The international symposium focused on Edvard Kocbek, whose susceptibility to complexity and paradoxes of human psychological structure and social existence often made him a victim of the ideologically uniform times. The Fabula Award for the best Slovenian collection of short stories from the past two years was given to Lado Kralj for Kosec koso brusi (A Reaper Grinds His Scythe).

The 9th Fabula Festival in 2012 hosted Hanif Kureishi (UK), Amitav Gosh (USA), Mikhail Shishkin (RU) and Leena Krohn (FI). On this occasion a book by each author was translated into Slovene and published along with a short story collection by five Slovene authors: Dušan Čater, Mojca Kumerdej, Andrej E. Skubic, Suzana Tratnik and Goran Vojnović. Authors presented their work at 5 main literary events accompanied by 20 other events such as literary readings, round tables, symposia, children’s program and other events with guests from around the world. The Fabula Award for the best Slovenian collection of short stories from the past two years was given to Dušan Čater for his collection Džehenem (‘hell’ in Turkish).

In 2013 the Fabula guests were Irvine Welsh (GB), Ilija Trojanow (BG), Eduardo Sanchez Rugeles (VE) and Dorota Masłowska (PL) along with Slovene authors: Stanka Hrastelj, Milan Kleč, Marko Sosič and Dušan Šarotar, in 2014 the guests were Péter Esterházy, Juan Goytisolo, Jacqueline Raoul-Duval, Thomas Brussig, Gabriela Babnik, Nejc Gazvoda, Alojz Ihan, Vesna Lemaić and Miha Mazzini, who tackled the festival focus Faces of Freedom Revealed. In March 2014 arrived a special guest, Michel Houellebecq, well-known to Slovene readers through the five translated novels.

In 2016 edition of the Fabula hosts Matthias Göritz, Cees Nooteboom, Juan Gabriel Vásquez and Sjón, while Slovenian guest is illustrator and artist Samira Kentrić presenting her new graphic novel. The festival’s topic was Newcomers, a pressing issues being a subject of discussions with Igor Štiks, Peter Vermeersch, Jean-Claude Milner, Alenka Zupančič, Srečko Horvat, Teofil Pančić, Ervin Hladnik Milharčič and Anica Mikuš Kos.

Fabula Festival 2019 focused on walls; at first glance with the fall of the Berlin Wall, which became historical event three decades ago, but also with many others kind of walls: walls between reality and fiction, past and present, walls between cultures, between the emotions of people who have difficulty communicating … and last but not least also with real walls, brick and concrete, that characterize our architectural landscape. Sixteen edition of festival brought many important names of world literature to Ljubljana, such as Ingo Schulze, Éric Vuillard and Tatjana Tolstoj.


The Fabula Festival takes place in several cities round Slovenia. The Fabula Festival of Stories in 2006, for example, was organised in Ljubljana, Maribor, Postojna, Izola, and Koper.

The events of the 2010 festival took place in Ljubljana (Cankarjev dom, Kinodvor Cinema, the City Museum of Ljubljana, the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, and Beletrina Bookshop); in Maribor (Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor); Ptuj (Ivan Potrč Library); Ribnica (Mikl House Library); Koper (Dom knjige Bookshop); and Trieste, Italy.

The venues of the Fabula 2011 included also hospitals, homes for the elderly, and crisis centres, as well as urban streets in collaboration with an initiative of the homeless, the magazine The Kings of the Street [Kralji ulice].

Recently the main part of the festival programme has been located in Ljubljana while the pre-festival events take place in Kranj, Koper, Celje, Novo mesto, Maribor and Trst/Trieste.

Cultural heritage

Mardi Gras at Cerknica

11. 02. - 17. 02. 2021



Pust v Cerknici

Tabor 1 SI-1380, Cerknica

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Mardi Gras at Cerknica is one of the most popular and well-known Mardi Gras (Pust) carnivals in Slovenia. It consists of a week-long programme of events that commemorate the upcoming spring and feature various festivities and re-enactments of traditional rituals such as the burning of the Pust figure. The carnival’s main attraction is a procession featuring numerous masked participants and giant papier-mâché sculptures of witches and monsters.

The timing of the carnival moves from year to year. Starting on Thursday, it ends a week later on Ash Wednesday – the day that marks the start of the 40-days of fasting preceding Easter.


The Mardi Gras celebrations have a long history in Slovenia (as they do in most of Europe), with the particular manifestations diverging from region to region. Many of them – such as Kurentovanje in Ptuj and the Cerkljanska Laufarija in Cerkno – have very unique and ancient traditions of costumes and customs.

The Cerknica carnival, as we know it today, only started to develop in the years after WWII, when the local rites of driving away winter were gradually joined by masquerades for children and a tradition of satirically-tinged costumes alludal to political and current events. The official birth of this particular festival is considered to be 1975, the year when the Cerknica Mardi Gras Society (Pustno društvo Cerknica) was established. This society cares for the organisation and is of prime importance especially due to the fact that they create, develop and store the giant figures used in the procession.

The carnival

The festivities start on Thursday, when the traditional rite of “sowing the hag” takes place. This is also the day when the town is supposedly given over to Butalci, comical and outrageously stupid figures taken from a series of famous satirical novels by Fran Milčinski (1867–1932) about the made-up town Butale. Its residents play a strong part in the upcoming days of the festival.

With the main events being the Saturday and Sunday processions (attracting thousand of visitors from around Slovenia), the whole thing finishes on Wednesday, when Pust (an anthropomorphic representation of winter) is ritually burned and thrown into the river.

Carnival procession

The procession features numerous groups of masked people and giant papier-mâché sculptures (of which many were created by the painter and sculptor Milan Rot). These include the witch Uršula (the mascot of the festival who according to folklore resides in a cave on Slivnica, a hill overlooking Cerknica), the devil and his herd of dormice, a dragon, the Water-man, and so on. Many of them allude to well-known figures from the Slovene literary tradition.


Mladinsko Showcase

1. 03. - 3. 04. 2022



Mladinsko Showcase

Vilharjeva 11 SI-1000, Ljubljana

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In 2007, the Mladinsko Theatre set up a festival overview of its annual production, called Prelet (Overflight), later renaming it as the Mladinsko Showcase. This distinctively international project, with English-surtitled performances, reiterates the highlights of the Mladinsko (and for a time also of the Glej Theatre) from the previous season.

In 2016, the format of the festival was renewed. While still maintaining the international aspect, the showcase is now (since the 2017/18 season) organised by the Mladinsko alone and focuses on the theatre’s own productions as well as those produced in collaboration with Maska Institute at The New Post Office.


A sizable number of radical and internationally renowned Slovene directors have directed performances at the Mladinsko Theatre, among them, Eduard Miler, Matjaž Pograjc, Ivica Buljan, Vito Taufer, Matjaž Farič, Ajda Ross, etc.

At the showcase, new (or yet unseen) shows are also presented, as are workshops and discussions, often featuring foreign guests such as the American playwright Norman Allen and the Bulgarian director Mladen Alexiev. Of the authors and performances from abroad, one can also note multiple works by the director Oliver Frljić as well as plays by Ivana Sajko, Željko Zorica, Borut Šeparović, and Natalija Manojlović, all of them coming from Croatia.

Overflight, 2012–2015

Between 2012 and 2015, the event was conceived in cooperation with Glej Theatre, thus becoming a joint conceptual and promotional platform called “Overflight, the International Theatre Festival”. Although Glej is an NGO and Mladinsko is a public institution, both theatres nevertheless share a common stake in exploring liminal aesthetics as well as in producing daring performances. Daktari Club was usually used as a venue for workshops, lectures and general socialising.

International collaborations

In 2012, the festival cooperated with the Croatian festival Perforacije, with whom they exchanged and co-produced certain performances and programmes.

In 2013, the festival cooperated with ICORN, the International Cities Of Refuge Network. In 2014 it was set up synchronously with the Ljubljana meeting of the East European Performing Arts Platform – EEPAP, which took place at Pocket Teater Studio.


Sound Disobedience

31. 03. - 2. 04. 2022




Bezenškova 18 SI-1000, Ljubljana

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Launched in 2012, the music series Sound Disobedience (in Slovenian, Neposlušno) describes its creed as an aim to facilitate conditions for music risk-taking and improvisation. Founded by Sploh Institute, which has been working on improvised music and theatre performing arts production since 1999, the series follows on the heels of the institute’s other successful projects of recent years, the Con-Fine Aperto concert series and the regular workshop called Search and Reflect (in Slovenian: RR–Raziskava, refleksija). The festival is an extension of both of these projects, presenting the two in a somewhat condensed form.

By way of concerts, workshops, lectures, and other forms of communicating musical ideas and ideas about music, Sound Disobedience annually creates an international programme, which is co-produced by the Španski borci Culture Centre.

Festival programme

Of the hosted musicians, one can first name the UK musician Eddie Prévost, who was also the inspiration for the above mentioned Search and Reflect series and who led the workshops during the first edition of the festival. Other foreign guests have included John Tillbury (UK), Tristan Honsinger (NL), Christof Kurzmann (AT), Martin Küchen (SE), Okkyung Lee (US/KR), and a number of others.

Some of the local improvisers who have played at Sound Disobedience include Ana Kravanja, Irena Tomažin, Samo Kutin, Neža Naglič, and actually most of the other musicians currently active in this vein of music. One of them is the trio Drašler/Karlovčec/Drašler, who presented their album Stir – released by Sploh Institute as part of its publishing activities – at the festival in 2013.


Stories Today Festival

19. 03. - 25. 03. 2022



Pripovedovalski festival Pravljice danes

SI-2000, Maribor

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The successor of the Fairy Tale Marathon, which was conceived by writer and storyteller Anja Štefan and held for the first time in 1998, the Stories Today Festival hosts a wide array of Slovene and foreign storytellers who deliver tales hailing from the folklore of various peoples and regions. In doing so, they forefront the ancestral oral tradition and foster the art of narration.

It encompasses storytelling performances for children, storytelling evenings for adults, an open stage which provides an exciting opportunity to anyone wanting to try themselves at storytelling, and accompanying events.

At first the storytelling festival was organised by Cankarjev dom, the Slovene Ethnographic Museum and the Association of Slovene Museums, later on it grew into a partnership of various cultural organisations such as Vodnik Homestead, Kinodvor Cinema, Slovenian Cinematheque, Pripovedovalski variete Cultural Association, the National and University Library, and the Global Institute Slovenia – an institute for global learning and development projects. Recently some festival events have been hosted also by Maribor Puppet Theatre, Maribor Public Library and Vetrinjski dvor in Maribor.


Week of Slovenian Drama

27. 03. - 8. 04. 2022



Teden slovenske drame

Glavni trg 6 SI-4000 , Kranj

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Organised annually by the Prešeren Theatre Kranj since 1971, the prestigious theatre festival Week of Slovenian Drama presents the most successful performances based on a Slovene play or text and staged in the last season by Slovene theatres. The festival, which usually runs for nearly 2 weeks, concludes with a ceremony at which the Grum Award is bestowed on the best original Slovene play, the Grün-Filipič Award is awarded for excellence in dramaturgy. Two awards are given for the best staging of a Slovene play appearing on the festival: the Šeligo Award, decided by an expert jury, and the Audience Award, voted by the festival audience.


Besides showcasing national productions, the programme also includes presentations of international stagings of Slovene plays. Thus far, the festival has hosted performances from Austria, Japan, Monte Negro, Great Britain, Serbia, Slovakia, Luxembourg, etc. Prešeren Theatre Kranj works hard to further expand the international part of the festival by devising round-table conferences involving famous dramatists, experts on theatre, producers, and publishers.

Cultural Centres

Fabula ‒ Literature of the World festival

4. 03. - 15. 04. 2022



Festival literature sveta Fabula

SI-1000, Ljubljana

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Fabula ‒ Literature of the World festival is the biggest and most visited literary festival in Slovenia and the wider region. Founded in 2003, it has hosted many modern classics: Herta Müller, Irvin Welsh, Jonathan Franz, Hanif Kureishi, David Grossman, Janice Galloway, Richard Flanagan, Taiye Selasi, Tatiana Tolstoy, Eric Vuillard, Rachel Cusk, Deborah Levy, Jokha Alharthi, Bernhard Schlink and many others. During the years, the festival’s concept has evolved and improved. Today, it is based on a well-thought out curator’s work that tries to pick five authors, who are already considered literary classics or who have made a significant mark on world literature in recent years with their work, while the festival programme Fabula Hub also pays attention to perspective, still establishing literary names.


In addition to the literary part, the festival also has a theoretical focus, which each year questions a new relevant social topic. So far, Slavoj Žižek, Terry Eagleton, Chantal Mouffe, Eva Illouz, Jean-Claude Milner, Patrick Boucheron, Umberto Galimberti and others have been guests in the theoretical focus. Fabula Festival is also distinguished by an extremely varied accompanying program, which is intended for all generations of readers and brings everything from children’s and youth programs (Young Fabula), interactive literary installations to public space (Fabula polis), collaborations with Slovenian publishers and bookstores (Fabula selection), genre intertwining between literature and theater and other art genres (Fabula outside literature), to projects establishing the festival as an incubator of new literary ideas and future literary trends (Fabula Hub), thus strengthening the space of the wider literary and social community.

Fabula 2022

The starting point of the festival’s focus in 2022 is the issue of human vulnerability, which comes to the fore at a time when humanity is struggling with a global pandemic, ecological catastrophe, social upheavals and a sharpened political situation around the world, and on the other hand with questions arising questions on how we treat vulnerable groups in modern times, how small and fragile we really are, and how much vulnerability in human absence and social apathy we still allow ourselves. The festival slogan »Fragile power(less) world« will bring together internationally renowned authors who are currently considered the best in their countries, as well as on a global scale.

The main five guests of the festival and the selected young literary name from the Fabula Hub program are also accompanied by fresh translations of books into Slovene. Usually, these are also the first ever translations of the authors into Slovene. In 2022, the festival will also start cooperation projects with other Slovenian publishing houses, while the important mission of the festival remains to acquaint Slovenian readers with relevant world literature, which has received wider recognition abroad but is still quite unknown to the general public in Slovenia.


Brumen Biennial of Slovenian Design

10. 03. - 13. 04. 2022



Brumen, bienale slovenskega oblikovanja

Slovenska cesta 11 SI-1000 , Ljubljana

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The first Brumen Biennial of Slovenian Design was organised by the Brumen Foundation in November 2003 at the National Gallery of Slovenia in Ljubljana.

Since then the biennial has become a notable and respected event to evaluate and award Slovenian design in about seven categories. The biennial has come to provide a specialised and expert-based overview of the field of visual communication for Slovenian designers and design firms.


The Brumen Biennial was established for the purpose of raising the quality of visual communications and promoting Slovene design. By organising international graphic design exhibitions the Brumen Foundation aims to spread the awareness of the highest quality achievements in international graphic design to a wide audience in Slovenia and abroad.

The young generation of designers has thus gained an important opportunity to check, compare, and get an overview of the designers and their work, as well as to gain recognition of their own design knowledge and skills.

Events and awards

All submitted works are first reviewed by a national jury comprised of the award winners of the previous biennial. The selected entries are shown at the biennial exhibition, accompanied by a catalogue, and assessed by an international jury, whose members present their own work in a series of free lectures held at the Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture and an exhibition called the International Design Event.

The Brumen Award is granted to the best work in each individual category, the best work of the entire biennial is awarded the Brumen Grand Prix. The jury may also grant Honorable Mention to an additional work in each category.

International cooperation

In 2008 award-winning works from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd editions of the biennial were shown at the exhibition Work from … Slovenia held in the Governor’s Palace in Brno, Czech Republic, as a part of the 23rd International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno. In 2009 the exhibition Best Slovenian Design in Visual Communications 01/02/03 took place in Forum Gallery in Zagreb, Croatia.


The archive of all the works presented at the Biennials of Slovene Visual Communications is available in the Department of Design Library of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design. The online archive is accessible in the link below.


Beavers Festival of Culture and Art Education

26. 03. - 9. 04. 2022




Vilharjeva 11 SI-1000, Ljubljana

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In 2009 the Mladinsko Theatre initiated the Bobri (in English Beavers), the Ljubljana-based festival of children education in culture and the arts. Today the Beavers Festival of Culture and Art Education is a wide platform for arts education run by the Municipality of Ljubljana in collaboration with Mladinsko Theatre and Kinodvor Cinema as main producers. The festival features a number of theatre, dance and music performances, a film and literature programme and a wide range of creative workshops for children.


The Beavers festival is a result of a cooperation between public institutions and non-governmental organizations in culture. Its aim is to enable greater accessibility of cultural and artistic events for children and youth, encourage production of artistic and cultural events for children and stimulate cooperation between governmental and non-governmetal producers in the domain of cultural and artistic education. It covers all areas of art: theatre, music and dance performances, screenings at the city’s art cinema, events and readings at the municipality library; exhibitions, guided visits and workshops in museums and galleries as well as workshops in other areas of art and culture (ar-chitecture, design, cultural heritage, history …).

Offering numerous events free of charge, an important part of the Beavers festival are short introductory welcoming speeches, addressing young audiences, as well as educational publications and materials that allow children, their families and teachers to reflect on the contents that were addressed at the specific cultural or art event they visited. All the events follow the postulate of culture and art education: preparation for the event, participation at the event (the experience) and analysis and reflection of the event.

Young Eyes

Since 2016, the festival has been organising a young critics workshops called Young Eyes, where the young audiences get the chance to explore the different aspects of the theatrical practice, meet the artists, prepare contributions about the festival in different formats, etc. under the mentorship of a theatre professional (in the recent years the mentor was critic and dramaturg Zala Dobovšek). The Young Eyes project is organized in cooperation with the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre and Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture, a host of many of the festival’s events.

Literature programme

In cooperation with Ljubljana City Library and the Vodnik Homestead, the Beavers festival is also organizing a range of activities promoting high quality children’s literature, from readings by and talks with acclaimed authors and storytellers to a book swapping programme.


Ljubljana Documentary Film Festival

9. 03. - 16. 03. 2022



Festival dokumentarnega filma (FDF)

Prešernova cesta 10 SI-1000, Ljubljana

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International Documentary Film Festival is a specialised competitive festival, established in 1998 and focusing on contemporary documentary film production, mostly on films that deal with social issues and social phenomena. The 8-day festival takes place annually in March at the Cankarjev dom, Cultural and Congress Centre, at the Slovenian Cinematheque and in Kinodvor Cinema.