Frankfurt: Guest of Honor Slovenia Hands Off to Italy 2024

The Frankfurter Buchmesse ‘Guest Scroll’ has been handed from Slovenia to Italy as Frankfurt Book Fair closes its 75th edition.

In the closing hours of the 75th Frankfurter Buchmesse on Sunday afternoon (October 22), the traditional guest of honor handover ceremony featured Slovenia passing the bespoke “Guest Scroll” used on this occasion every year to Guest of Honor Italy for 2024.

Participants in the ceremony included Katja Stergar, director of the Slovenian Book Agency (JAK), and Mauro Mazza, Rome’s special commissioner to the program, along with Slovenian author Dušan Jelinčič and Italian writer Ilaria Tuti, who spoke by video.

Music at the event featured the Italian-American violinist Francesca Dego, who plays a Francesco Ruggeri violin (1697, Cremona).

Since Slovenia received the Guest Scroll from Spain in October 2022, Slovenian authors, poets, philosophers, artists and musicians and their work have been presented at numerous events in the German-speaking world. One of the most important elements of the Frankfurt guest of honor program is an intensely comprehensive program of international cultural exchange that places events and activities in many parts of Germany for the year of the guest of honor designation.

Speaking for the Slovenian program, its director, Stergar, said, “We are very pleased to have used such an extensive program to present Slovenian culture to the German-speaking and international audience in Frankfurt.

“Participating in the guest of honor project was like a roller-coaster ride with all its ups and downs. But you’re never alone, there’s always a helping hand, a word of encouragement, and a smile from someone providing support. The guest of honor pavilion and the events with all the authors on the fairgrounds and beyond attracted a great deal of interest.

“Today I’m delighted to present the Guest Scroll to our neighbor Italy, since I know that our story will continue to be told next year, thanks to the Slovenian minority living there.”

Mazza, accepting the Guest Scroll for Italy from Stergar, said, “Between our two countries there’s not only a geographical proximity but also a cultural closeness, despite the beauty of their respective differences.

“This event offered us the opportunity to celebrate the value of proximity in the name of literature.”

Photo: Italy’s special commissioner for Guest of Honor Italy 2024 receives the ‘Guest Scroll’ from Katja Stergar, director of the 2023 Guest of Honor Slovenia program, during the closing hours of the 75th Frankfurter Buchmesse on October 22. Image: FBM: Marc Jacquemin

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