Lirikonfest Velenje is an annual international poetry festival organised by Velenje Literary Foundation and literary association Velenika. It takes place in spring or early summer; its programme, however, is broadened by poetry readings, Lirikon(fest) Tastings (Lirikon(fest)ove degustacije), which last all year round. Lirikonfest promotes and presents 21st-century literature, its authors, translators and editors. The festival programme comprises approximately 21 literary events accompanied by music, theatre, film, art and dance. Every year, a different theme is put into focus. In the heart of the festival activities are literary readings, editorial and critical interpretations and presentations of Slovene and foreign literary translators.
The traditional Herberstein Literary Meeting of Slovene Writers, launched in 2002, has been a part of Lirikonfest since 2008. It features various symposia on 21st-century literature and current topics. Each year, 21 Slovene and 21 foreign authors, translators, editors and publishers take part in the festival. The magazine Rp. Lirikon21 is dedicated to the festival programme and comprises contributions from the participating authors.
The festival also includes projects for developing and promoting reading among adults and young people “Opening a Book” (Odpiram knjigo) and children “A Chocolate with a Book” (Čokolada s knjigo).
Within the framework of the festival, two biennial accolades are awarded: Lirikonov zlát for outstanding journal translations of 21st-century Slovene poetry into foreign languages and translations of contemporary poetry into Slovenian, and Herbersteinski-lirikonfestov zlát for the best literature essay on the current festival theme.
The international Pretnar Award is presented annually to acknowledge the work of ambassadors of Slovene literature and language abroad. At the ceremony Academy Poetic Slovenia, the Cup of Immortality (Čaša nesmrtnosti) is awarded to honour outstanding oeuvres of poetry or poetic drama for youth by Slovene authors. The awarded authors and translators can participate in international literary residencies in Velenje, Šaleška and Zgornja Savinjska valleys.