22 / 2005
Lidija Dimkovska


Only a small percentage of 120 immigrant authors living in Slovenia have won recognition in contemporary Slovenian culture, which is to say that their work has been published by major Slovenian literary magazines and publishing houses, they have participated in central literary events and have been active in key Slovenian literary movements. The article offers analysis of thematic and literary-aesthetic characteristics of the literary work written by the so-called elite (Josip Osti, Erica Johnson Debeljak, Ismet Bekrić, Ana Ristović, Jordan Stavrov, Ana Lasić, Stanislava Chrobáková Repar) and less recognised immigrant authors (Rade Vučkovac, Nebojša Ignjatovič, Vladimir Vekić, Ljuben Dimkaroski). The typical feature of their poetry, prose, drama and essays is the question of identity and its structure, which is tackled in their work directly or through literary characters. All of the authors seem to ask themselves questions about being foreign, different, about their intercultural status. Each author meets literary-aesthetic expectations of Slovenian readership to a different degree, and more or less fits in the literary socialisation of Slovenian readers, least of all those who write predominantly patriotic literature. Josip Osti writes in Slovenian language and is consequently the only one among the analysed authors who has been recognised as the Slovenian author. All of the others – be it recognised or less so – are still faced with the language as the major Slovenian ideological border and constant which determines whether an individual is a Slovenian author or a foreign one. This, however, is what practical and theoretical benefits of the authors and their literary integration are dependant on.

Even though the purpose of the Paralele magazine and the Sosed tvojega brega festival is to promote interculturality, Slovenians have accepted them with nothing but tolerance, showing no intercultural consciousness which is essential if we want to prevent such activities from falling into paracultural and from merely representing the tolerance threshold of a culture. Therefore those immigrant authors who publish their work only in Paralele and attend no other festival than Sosed tvojega brega remain outside key literary events in majority Slovenian and international literature.
The status of immigrant literature in Slovenian cultural consciousness is hardly noticeable within the entire cultural system of Slovenia, and is therefore in need of radical changes taking place in Slovenian literary institutions and media, the loosening of the borders of Slovenian national literature, and the integration of immigrant authors in multicultural Slovenia.