22 / 2005
Maruša Mugerli


The counts of the population after the Second World War prove that in Slovenia we can talk about ethnic plurality. The most immigrants came to Slovenia from other republics of former Yugoslavia. According to the 2002 Slovenian census the share of the persons who did not state Slovenian ethnicity was 17 %. The largest groups of immigrants living in Slovenia represent the Serbs, the Croats, the Boshniaks, the Muslims and the Bosnians. All other ethnicities together constitute less than 1 % of the population in Slovenia. Among immigrants living in Slovenia there are several ‘foreign’ writers (and other artists). The literary work by immigrant writers in Slovenia has not been often discussed, has not been object of scientific and critical debating and has not been treated as a (special) part of literary system. This is also connected with the question of the volume and the limits of national literature. Literary work by immigrant writers is part of two cultures – the source culture and the ‘new’ culture – irrespective of which language (Slovenian or ‘foreign’) it is written in. Immigrants of the first generation are mostly not bilingual and they create in their mother tongue(s). The integration of foreign language literature of the immigrant minorities – by translation and evaluation – has an important role in the process of establishing a complex joint culture in a modern multi-ethnic state. Literary work by immigrant writers on one hand indeed is part of two cultures, but on the other it often finds itself ‘somewhere in-between’, between two cultures and does not belong to any of them. One of the reasons for this position is undoubtedly the problem of non-translating. Literary translation is very often stated as the most important factor of interacting between national literatures and is also very important for the formation of cultural identity. Also it is no longer understood simply as a transfer between two languages, but wider as a transfer between two cultures. Literary work by immigrant writers as part of two cultures puts us in a paradoxical situation – by representing source and target culture in which it is actually translated. It is seen that literature by immigrant writers fulfils three roles – it represents ‘foreign’/other culture, home/autochthon culture and it represents itself as the third type of literature or culture.

The most immigrant authors living and writing in Slovenia come from other republics of former Yugoslavia. In my research I have found seventeen authors who wrote their literary works in their mother tongue and whose works were translated into Slovenian and published in Slovenia after the year 1990. The authors are Josip Osti, Sara Memić, Rade Vučkovac, Senada Smajić, Ismet Bekrić, Petra P. Aleksić, Jure Drljepan, Jordan Stavrov, Nebojša Ignjatović, Ana Ristovič, Jadranka Matić Zupančič, Vladimir Vekić, Ljuben Dimkaroski, Lidija Dimkovska, Metoda Postolski Košir and two women-writers who are not from former Yugoslavia – from USA Erica Johnson Debeljak and from Slovakia Stanislava Chrobáková Repar.