56th International Belgrade Book Fair Awardees

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The jury of the 56th International Belgrade Book Fair has granted the title of the Publisher of the Year 2011 to Book Factory, stationed in Belgrade.

Jury decided to award said publisher for high level of responsibility demonstrated by the careful selection of titles, high-quality book design, and superior translations. However, key quality that ensured this small publisher the title of the publisher of the year was their ability to recognize the importance of translating contemporary literature.

Monograph entitled Comic Books That We Loved, published by Omnibus from Belgrade, was selected as the Edition of the Year 2011.

Jury's decision was based on the excellence and grandeur of this project, which thoroughly analyzes, systematizes, and popularizes 20th century comic books in former Yugoslavia. The authors of this lexicon of critical essays, which are all top experts in their field, have proven to be fully competent to create such a detailed and ambitious project to serve as a testimony to the history of comic book culture, its quality surpassing all borders as it can boast obvious regional significance.

Finally, Children's Book of the Year 2001 is Rumpus by Igor Kolarov (edition by Bookland, Belgrade).

This highly imaginative book by Kolarov, which is one of the most original Serbian children's writers, contains stories about unusual friendships, travels, book writing... The elements of the absurd, skillfully combined with brittle humor, were the main criteria that won Kolarov the award for the best children's book.

Special award was given to Gay Life & Culture: A World History by Robert Aldrich (edition by Red Box, Belgrade & Sandorf, Zagreb).

In jury's words, this book's primary value lies in the "combination of the author's superb writing skills and the intelligent selection of accompanying visual content." Author's purpose was to examine the society's attitude to homosexuality throughout history, from antiquity to modern times. The additional value of the book is the way it looks, enriched by an impressive collection of photographs, reproductions, and newspaper articles. In addition to all of the above, this extraordinary book is awarded for outstanding translation quality.

In his opening remark, the Chairman of the Book Fair Committee Željko Ožegović said that the "purpose of the awards granted by the Belgrade Book Fair was not to encourage the decrease in literary awards, quite the contrary – their intent was to make a public affirmation of what we considered to be the most valuable literary and publishing efforts in the past year, using the meeting place of writers and booksellers, publishers and readers, for that very purpose." He added that the jury had "full autonomy in selecting books which demonstrated superior quality in all aspects – overall quality being the main criterion for book evaluation."

President of the jury was philosopher Ivan Milenković, who stressed out the gravity of crisis evident in Serbian book publishing industry in the last two years, also one of the reasons why the jury decided to take into account the publishers' dedication to book quality instead of simply indulging popular market demands.

Jury members of the 56th International Book Fair in Belgrade were Ivan Milenković (president), Svetlana Gavrilović, Tijana Spasić, Lazar Bodroža, and Nenad Milošević.