This year, 130 exhibitors, more than 40 foreign authors and 150 programs await the public at the Festival from this Thursday until October 2 at the National Dance Theater and the Europa Pont, next to the Millenáris event center.
After a two-year hiatus, the Budapest International Book Festival will reopen, said poet and writer Krisztina Tóth in her opening speech. Literature is under a lot of scrutiny these days, she said, with writers being threatened, arrested and attacked almost everywhere in the world. In these troubled times, the work of literary scholars is once again becoming important, as "they are the guardians of human experience, tireless scribes fighting against transience and oblivion," she is quoted by the state news agency MTI as saying.
She highlighted that today, we are experiencing an economic and moral cataclysm: epidemics, energy crisis, climate catastrophe, food shortages, housing crisis. Societies are divided, people's sense of security is shaken, and writers are telling horror stories of human suffering.
She pointed out that in societies where forgetting is a "devastating epidemic," we need to retell stories over and over again so that the world around us does not repeat them. She stressed that these forgetting societies have a deep affinity with kitsch: nostalgia that "washes away the blood."
Populist societies look with contempt and disgust on any institution that threatens their power, and they think people want to read not about the horrors but about the good and the beautiful," she explained.
Representing Slovakia as guest of honor, literary historian and director of the Institute of World Literature of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Judit Görözdi, said that the festival would present Hungarian translations of 29 Slovak works, as well as Hungarian translations of books by Slovakian-Hungarian authors. The Slovak stand will offer a selection of mainly contemporary works, with contemporary stories from the brighter and shadier sides of life, she explained. There are strong women's narratives not only about the present, but also fictional and professional history and social problems, he added.
She recalled that six years ago, Slovak literature had already been presented at Millenáris, and since then, it has become part of the offer of Hungarian bookshops and has entered the field of vision of Hungarian readers.
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