The Vilnius Book Fair gathered Lithuanian readers, writers, translators and literary critics for the eighteenth time. Various literary events such as readings, book presentations and discussions took place during the four days. As the topic of the fair was “Lithuanian Signs visible abroad” this year, the focus was laid on writers residing abroad as well as texts by Lithuanian authors translated into foreign languages. Regarding translations, interesting facts were shared by the Lithuanian Culture Institute and it turned out that Tomas Venclova is the most widely read Lithuanian author in the world. Whereas Eugenijus Ališanka is the most widely translated Lithuanian poet.
17 writers from various countries returned to Lithuania for four days in order to present their books and to meet their readers in their home country. During these days, 400 events took place and around 63,000 visitors attended the fair.
The fair is important in terms of various book competitions; the exhibitions of the most beautiful and the most valuable books were organised and the winners were announced and awarded. We are particularly glad that the poetry book “Singerstraum” by Giedrė Kazlauskaitė, a Versopolis poet, was selected as the most creative book of 2016 by scientists of the Lithuanian Institute of Literature and Folklore. Another pleasing fact is that it is poetry books that constitute half of the top twelve creative books.
On Sunday, other laureates were awarded. This year Jurga Ivanauskaitė’s Prize, which is awarded to authors at a maximum age of 45 years “for free, open and brave creative expression”, was given to Rimantas Kmita for his debut novel “Pietinia Kronikas” (a dialectal version of The Southern Chronicles) written in the dialect of Šiauliai. The laureates of the Book of the Year were also awarded: the book “Adatos” (The Needles) by poet Dainius Gintalas won in the category of poetry, while the first novel “Vyno Kopija” (The Copy of Wine) by poet, writer, essayist and writer, Kęstutis Navakas was elected the book of the year in the category of adults.
The topic of Vilnius Book Fair 2018 was announced on the last day of the fair. As Lithuania will celebrate its 100th anniversary of the Restoration of the Lithuanian State in 2018, next year’s topic, namely “Reading Lithuania, Reading the World”, refers to our current identity as well as development over the years. One of the members of the organising committee of the book fair Marius Burokas has claimed that “there was a strong desire to spread the message of openness. Next year’s topic provides an opportunity to reconsider the changes in Lithuania within a century.”