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Zagreb Book Festival 2022

Apocalypse today

Date: 23 - 28 May 2022 

Location: Bookstore Ljevak - Ritam grada


Zagreb Book Festival is an annual literary event in the Croatian capital. After seven successful editions, the Zagreb Book Festival has become an unavoidable place on the cultural and literary map of Zagreb. After difficult pandemic years, this spring the Zagreb Book Festival returns to its traditional form and tackles one of the biggest problems of today - climate change. If not now, when? If not us, who?
This is the motto of this year's Zagreb Book Festival, the eighth in a row.


Monday, May 23rd

20h00 - 21h00

Rachida Lamrabet pic by Koen Broos.jpg

Stage interview // Rachida Lamrabet

Moderator: Sanja Baković

Location: Ritam grada, Zagreb

Rachida Lamrabet's novel 'Tell It to Someone' tells the story of soldiers from French colonies forced to fight a war, which they don't want to take part in. It is a masterfully written book, about those who are fighting while being lost in the whirlpool of someone else's war, and their own identity. Rachida Lamrabet is a Belgian-Moroccan author, who gives a voice to those who do not have it and whose voice is sought to be taken away. She writes about identity, migration and suffering, in a world of not understanding different people and their diversity.

In today's divided world, where divisions bring feelings of pain and insecurity, literature is one of the last shelters that can create hope, empathy and comfort. Any effort to expand the understanding of the different and diverse can change the atmosphere in which the world is constantly perceived as a hostile place.

Tuesday, May 24th
10h30 - 12h00 

Talk: Inclusivity in literature // Rachida Lamrabet

Location: Faculty of Humanities, Zagreb

Moderator: Romana Perečinec

The talk with Moroccan-born Flemish writer and lawyer Rachida Lamrabet is conceptualized in a fluid form varying between a talk and a workshop. Until recently, Rachida worked as a lawyer for the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism and diversity is essential part of her writing as well as her life. The focus of the event will be Rachida's experience as person of non- European origin and that of a diverse author as well as her stand on the importance of inclusion and diversity in books and book industry. The event will be held in Dutch where the moderator is also the translator of the book and the participants are students of Dutch language. Students will be prepared for a detailed talk with the author and will have questions for her on hand.

17h00 - 18h00

Every Story Matters // presentation of stories


Participants: Staša Guček Sedevčić, Mirna Brođanac, Olja Savičević Ivančević, Shamisa Debroey,  Fatinha Ramos, Inês Viegas Oliveira, Heike Herold, Yannick Geens, Rita Pires dos Santos, Rozemarijn Houben

Moderator: Anita Peti-Stantić

Location: Hotel Dubrovnik, Zagreb

Every Story Matters- making books more inclusive is a European project which raises awareness of the role of literature, especially for children and youth, in accepting themselves and others and building an open democratic society. As a part of the project six young European authors from six countries, writers and illustrators, of various diverse backgrounds created six diverse stories aimed at children and young adults. These stories and their creators will be presented to the audience in this special event. The event will be accompanied by simultaneous translation and video input.

18h30 - 19h30

Round table: Who is telling our stories?

Participants:  Yannick Geens, Mirna Brođanac, Ines Viegas Oliveira, Staša Guček Sedevčič,

Shamisa Debroey, Nives Tomašević, Mirela Barbaroša-Šikić, Marijana Češi, Andreja Silić, Biljana Petljak-Zekić.

Moderator: Anita Peti-Stantić

The aim of the round table is to raise awareness of the diversity of each of us, especially through the educational system. Even if diversity is being considered as one of focus points for teachers the project Every Story Matters – making books more inclusive and this event will be an addition to regular work and raising the awareness of educators and teachers in that direction.  

Wednesday, May 25th

18h00 - 19h00

Book promotion - Lana's School// Mirna Brođanac

Participants: Julijana Matanović, Ivana Bodrožić, Mirna Brođanac

Moderator: Nives Tomašević

Location: Library Bogdan Ogrizović, Zagreb

Lana's School' is an illustrated book by Croatian author and participant of the Every Story Matters Talent Development Program Mirna Brođanac with illustrations by Ivana Guljašević.

The book's presentation will take place in the most central, charismatic and kult library Bogdan Ogrizović in Zagreb. The participants of the event are the author herself and two of the most acknowledged Croatian writers. The video of the book promotion will be made accesible to wider international audiences.

Cover (cut out).JPG


After difficult pandemic years, this spring the Zagreb Book Festival returns to its traditional form and tackles one of the biggest problems of today - climate change. 

Behind us are two uncertain years marked by the pandemic. We are in the midst of a new conflict on the European continent. Never before have we been so clearly confronted with the realization of how fragile the natural balance is, that is, how easily everything that we considered constant can be destroyed. Irresponsible attitude of people towards the environment is one of the basic problems of modern civilization, with which the destiny of the human species is most closely connected. If we have learned anything, it is that the quality of life on our planet in the future depends primarily on our respect for nature and its harmony.


And that is why this year's Zagreb Book Festival is called Apocalypse Today: or about the relationship between nature and society. In thinking about this current topic, the festival will go a step further and copy the concept to other segments of human life, society and art. Many important topics related to climate change will be discussed and debated with about forty Croatian and foreign writers, publicists, journalists and scientists.


The Festival is proud to, once again, host an important European project, Every Story Matters- making books more inclusive, which raises awareness of the role of literature, especially for children and youth, in accepting themselves and others and building an open democratic society. The project Every Story Matters is based on the premise that everyone has the right to discover literature and create stories, regardless of their socio-economic or cultural background, gender, sexual preferences or mental and physical abilities.

The importance of this project has been recognized by many actors in the field including our ambassadors: Jul Maroh, Ivana Bodrožić, Korana Serdarević, Rachida Lamrabet, Olja Savičević Ivančević and Anita Peti-Stantić. At this year’s Festival audience will have a chance to listen to awarded Flemish author Rachida Lamrabet talk about her experiences with inclusivity and her newly translated book Tell someone.  A lot of focus will be put on the question: Who writes our stories? Six young artists, writers and illustrators, from Slovenia, Netherlands, Croatia, Belgium, Portugal and Germany will present their inclusive stories created as a part of this project.  The final event in this program unit will be a promotion of a book about a girl with disabilities, Lana's story, by a young Croatian writer, Mirna Brođanac.


Rachida Lamrabet pic by Koen Broos.jpg

Rachida Lamrabet (b. 1970) writes fiction and stages plays. Her work is strongly inspired by the themes of migration and identity. For her first novel, Woman Country, she received a debut award, and her story collection A Child of God won the BNG New Literature Prize. Both books have been translated into German. In The Man Who Didn’t Want to Be Buried, she portrays the cultural divide experienced by migrants. Tell someone is a captivating chronicle of a Moroccan soldier fighting alongside the French during World War I. She has won the Flemish Culture Award for Literature 2019.

Ïnclusive literature is as necessary as a house with windows and mirrors in it.  The windows help children to take a look into the world outside and experience different situations and characters than the ones on the inside of the house. The mirror is necessary because children need literature where they can see themselves represented. Writer Lesa Cline-Ransome puts it this way: “When kids can see themselves in books that they read about, and they read about characters who look like them and have families like them and live like them, they feel that they’re a valuable member of a community and a society.

Inclusive children’s literature builds homes in which readers of different backgrounds can immerse themselves and feel seen and understood."

Anita Peti - Stantic.jpg

Anita Peti-Stantić graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb, received her master's degree from Yale University, and continued her postgraduate studies at the University of Vienna. She finally received her doctorate in Zagreb in 2002. She is a full time professor of South Slavic languages ​​and comparative linguistics at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb and the head of the Department of Slovenian Language and Literature. She has written several scientific monographs, several dozen scientific articles, a large Slovenian-Croatian dictionary and two books - together with Vladimir Velički Language Games for Large and Small , an independent book Reading to (understanding): From reading literacy to reading ability and a book which she wrote with her daughter Znati(želja) - transl .Curiosity. Anita is the most dedicated promoter of reading participating in and initiating various literary events.

Our human world is shaped and maintained by acting and creating, but also to a large extent by storytelling. Our societies profoundly depend on stories and our ability to convey them to each other, to endow ourselves to hear and understand them, to understand each other that way. For that reason, every individual story and all the stories of this world, the totality of all individual stories, are extremely important as they cultivate our humanity, as they design the conditions we live in. This is because storytelling is both a way of creating the world and conveying experiences, emotions, fears and hopes. For that reason, it is extremely important to hear different and diverse voices of young people as early in life as possible, and it is particularly important for young people to hear them. It is important because that way, by reading and hearing stories, they encounter other experiences, the experiences that are sometimes distant from their own, spatially, culturally, emotionally or in any other aspect. Only by hearing such stories we as people can truly practice empathy, tolerance and true coexistence.

In a broader sense, all literature, due to the manifold interests of those writing it, and consequently due to its creative potential, can be considered inclusive. Despite that, especially when it comes to literature for children and teenagers, often it takes a lot of effort to find good texts and illustrations that focus on stories of truly shifted points of view, stories of young people struggling with their inner worlds or external, personal and social obstacles. Such stories about different than usual characters, situations, emotions, fears, convictions and expectations, stories told from minority perspectives, unprotected by the likeminded mass, are inclusive stories in a more specific sense.

One might ask, why would someone who doesn’t live in such situations and might never know anyone living in them ever read such stories? Let me venture two possible answers, convinced that, once you start thinking about it, each of you will think of other alternatives.

First, it is highly improbable that in our extremely networked society of expressive mobility we’re not going to encounter a person of racial or sexual orientation different from ours, that in this world where people are so mobile we’re not going to meet a person engrossed in their world limited by disability, who would open new horizons to us by saying that “writing is a special kind of movement, because writing takes you places you couldn’t go because of your physical limitations.” And second, stories are told, listened to and read for this very particular reason: to meet and see what we might identify with and what we otherwise would perhaps never encounter. We do it because we are humans, curious and interested in other humans, capable of designing our lives and the lives of those close to us and those we can reach by means of words.'

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