City of Books Festival is an urban book festival that has been taking place in the centre of Nova Gorica, a city on the western border of Slovenia, since 2016. It is the largest literary event in the Goriška region, centred mostly in two one-week book fairs, at the end of spring and in December, with about 30 events in a week, and is intended for all book lovers and everyone else who is interested in current topics and would like to discuss them. Those who are looking for relaxation at quality music concerts also find their place. The festival is organized by the Goriška Humanist Association.
City of Books Festival consists of a book fair, a pop-up bookstore that takes place twice a year: firstly, in May or June, and secondly, in December, as a New Year’s book fair called Books Under the Trees. The pop-up bookstore offers access to quality literature, presents new books in conversation with authors, as well as round tables, discussions, literary events, themed multi-day workshops, film screenings, music events and informal gatherings. In 2020, for example, thirty publishers participated in the pop-up bookstore, which makes the City of Books festival almost the largest book fair in Slovenia.
City of Books differs from other book fairs in that it is thematically rounded. The first City of Books Festival took place on Bevk Square in Nova Gorica in May 2016, and its main theme was dedicated to the issue of the border in the Goriška region. The festival was held in 2017 on the theme of the city, in 2018 on the theme of war and peace, in 2019 on the theme of water, and in 2020 under the title Margin.
City of Books Festival hosted some of the biggest names in Slovene literature, social sciences and humanities and journalism, including Boris Pahor, Drago Jančar, Renata Salecl, Ervin Hladnik Milharčič, Marko Sosič, Goran Vojnović, Nina Dragičević, Tatjana Jamnik, Iztok Osojnik, Miklavž Komelj, Jasmin B. Frelih, Svetlana Slapšak, Ali Žerdin, Alenka Puhar, Aleš Berger and many others. Many of the most important contemporary European writers also come as guests, such as Olga Tokarczuk, Radka Denemarkova, Miljenko Jergović, Adriano Sofri and others.