Books bring Bratislava to Paris

The Slovak capital will be the city of honour at the prominent book fair in Paris.

Publisher Virginie Symaniec, left, from French publishing house Le ver à soie, which published book Café Hyena by Jana Beňová, middle, talking with LIC director Miroslava Vallová, right, at the book fair in Paris last year.Publisher Virginie Symaniec, left, from French publishing house Le ver à soie, which published book Café Hyena by Jana Beňová, middle, talking with LIC director Miroslava Vallová, right, at the book fair in Paris last year. (Source: Courtesy of LIC)

Paris and Bratislava do not have much in common, except the fact that they are both capitals. Bratislava with less than half a million of citizens, is just a bigger town compared to Paris with more than 2.5 million inhabitants. And the metro in Bratislava, unlike Paris, is only imaginary in the pages of a children’s book.

But all this will change within a few days as Bratislava will be the city of honour at the prestigious Livre Paris book fair held in the French capital from 15 to 18 March. The initiator of this idea is Miroslava Vallová, director of the Bratislava-based Centre for Information on Literature (LIC).

All of Slovakia will be presented at the book fair through Bratislava.

“This gesture expresses France’s recognition of high quality but so-far little-known literature that draws inspiration from the rich history of central Europe and Slovakia,” French ambassador to Slovakia, Christophe Léonzi, told The Slovak Spectator.

Although geographically Slovakia is in the middle of Europe, it remains at the edge of interest for many in the rest of the continent. The Slovak exposition is therefore under the slogan “On the Edge, in the Middle”.

Slovak Bratislava in French Paris

The Slovak stand at the book fair designed by the Pavol Choma studio will use the Danube River’s theme while it will lure visitors with animation by Ové Pictures introducing Bratislava and its vicinity.

“We will offer a wealth of books about Bratislava, photographic publications, children’s books and tourist guides,” said Marek Vadas from LIC and a writer himself. “But there will also be specialties such as Bratislava Metropolis by philosopher Miroslav Marcelli and architect Michal Bogár, and the anthology by Katarína Bednárová from the books of French authors since Classicism reflecting Slovakia and especially Bratislava.”

One of the books specially published on the occasion of Bratislava being the invited city at the fair is the French edition of the book Bratislava - The Magic Metropolis. Written by Michal Hvorecký and illustrated by Simona Čechová, it was published by the young publishing house Monokel in cooperation with LIC.

“The book has so far been a great success in Slovakia,” Peter Michalík, the publisher as well as the employee of LIC participating in the preparation of Slovakia’s presentation at the fair. The book was published in Slovak, English and French in late 2018.

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