Thursday, 23 April 2020

Reading in Croatia up 7%, Fiction Remains Most Read

ZAGREB, April 23, 2020 - In 2020 reading in Croatia increased to 49% from 42% in 2019, women and people with university degrees read more often than others, and fiction is their number one choice, shows a survey on reading and book purchasing habits, published on Thursday on the occasion of the Book Night 2020.

The survey was conducted in March 2020 on a representative sample of 1,000 respondents by the Kvaka Agency for Creative Analysis.

In a press release published on the occasion of the 9th Book Night, Tamara Kraus of the Kvaka agency said that the significant shift in book reading was a result of the enthusiasm of organisations and individuals promoting book reading and buying.

"The 49% of readers refers to the percentage of persons aged 16 and up who have read at least one book over the past year, except the required school reading," Kraus pointed out.

Among readers, the largest number read two books in a year. The following groups read books more often than others: women (55%), people in the 26 - 35 age group (60%), and people with university degrees (78%). Books they read are most often borrowed in libraries (44%) or bought (38%).

As for the type of books being read, fiction is still in the first place (65%), followed by non-fiction and technical books (27% each), and reference books (22%).

Books are still most often bought in bookstores (47%), followed by news-stands (18%), and online shops (15%).

Although it was predicted a few years ago that e-books would replace printed books, the percentage of those who read, and especially those who buy e-books, has remained stable at 2%. E-books are read by 9% of Croatians. Daily newspapers are the most in-demand online content, read by 55% of Croatians, while a third of the Croatian population does not even occasionally read content on the Internet.

More news about books can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Book Night to Be Held Online on April 23

ZAGREB, April 17 , 2020 - The 9th Book Night will be held online for the first time on April 23, and it will feature about 200 programmes, with the opening being broadcast live on the national television (HTV) and social networks.

This year's Book Night event will be dedicated to the current topic - change. The slogan is "You're not isolated with a book!"

The event, commemorating World Book and Copyright Day and Croatian Book Day, is being jointly organised by the Association of Publishers and Booksellers of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the National and University Library in Zagreb, the Zagreb City Libraries, the Croatian Publishers' Reprographic Rights Association – ZANA, the Moderna Vremena books and culture website, the Knjižni Blok association, and the Croatian Association of School Librarians.

The Book Night event will feature nearly 200 programmes by bookshops, second-hand bookshops, libraries, primary and secondary schools, kindergartens, theatres, illustrators, translators, writers and other creatives and institutions that are "friends of books" from all over Croatia.

In its message on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO underscores the power of books at a time of isolation, noting that reading is now more important than ever. It calls on readers all over the world to share quotes, poems and messages that symbolise the power of books and encourage reading.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Book Night 2020 to Be Held Online

ZAGREB, March 29, 2020 - In the current circumstances of a pandemic, which prevent cultural events from taking place, the Book Night 2020 event, which commemorates the International Book and Copyright Day as well as Croatian Book Day on 23 April, will be held online.

"In the midst of news about the coronavirus spread, we did not give up on the idea to organise Book Night, in line with the current circumstances and within the limits of what is responsible and possible," said the organisers.

This year's edition of the event will be marked by online programmes, including a virtual Book Night opening ceremony, where the results of the new annual survey of Croatian citizens' book buying and reading habits will be presented.

Media outlets are invited to dedicate a part of their content to books and the magic of their creation and reading on the eve of 23 April. "Regardless of the kind of content, be it interviews with authors, unknown and less-known events from the world of literature, book and author presentations, musical performances inspired by books, conversations with citizens of all generations on the future of books, their favourite books or book quotes and best-book lists - any mention of books is welcome," the organisers noted.

Programme applications can be submitted until 23 April via an online application form available on the Book Night website. All information on the ninth, virtual edition of Book Night will be published on the Book Night website and Facebook page.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Fraktura's World Literature Festival Shortlisted for International Excellence Awards 2020

ZAGREB, February 10, 2020 - The London Book Fair has published the shortlisted entries for the International Excellence Awards in 2020, and one of them is the World Literature Festival that is organised by the Fraktura publishing company in Zagreb every autumn.

According to the information available on the website of the London Book Fair, "the hugely-popular International Excellence Awards are now in their sixth year. Celebrating global markets and showcasing the wealth of success and innovation in the world’s publishing activity outside the UK, over 50 nations have received recognition at LBF since the awards started."

"Held in partnership with The Publishers Association, The International Excellence Awards are a grand celebration of publishing and related activities outside the UK," the London Book Fair says.

Winners will be announced in a special ceremony at the London Book Fair that takes place 10-12 March 2020.

The Zagreb-based festival, whose first edition was launched by Fraktura in 2013, has been shortlisted for the category "Literary Festival Award".

In 2015, the Fraktura publishing company won The Bookseller International Adult Trade Publisher Award at the London Book Fair.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 20 January 2020

More Than Three Million Users of Croatian Free e-Book Project

ZAGREB, January 20, 2020 - The project Free Electronic Book (BEK) had more than three million users by the end of 2019, the Society for Promoting New Media Literature, the coordinator of the project, launched 18 years ago, reported.

"Thirty percent more users read 16% more e-books and downloaded 2% more e-books in 2019, and the number of newly-published titles rose by 23 to 242, just as the number of new users grew by 583,000 to more than three million," the Society reports.

As many as 52 titles had more than one thousand readers last year. There are now more than a hundred selected works of contemporary Croatian poetry available. On average, the project had more than 150,000 users per year and each title had more than 7,500 readers.

The most read fiction book in 2019 was "Sloboština Barbie" by Maša Kolanović (6,164 readers), followed by the novel "Ljubav je sve" by Krešimir Pintarić (4,822) and the memoir "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau (4,002).

The most read poetry books were "Tri jeseni" (Three autumns) by Anna Akhmatova (4,224 readers), "Tour de force" by Krešimir Pintarić (2,047) and "Gledaj me u oči" by Mario Brkljačić (1,580).

The most read nonfiction titles were "Četvrti svjetski rat / Drugačiji svijet je moguć!" by Dražen Šimleša (7,980), "Mediji, propaganda i sistem" (Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda) by Noam Chomsky (7,617) and "Zapisi iz treće kulture" by Darko Polšek (7,068).

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Zagreb City Libraries Introduce E-Book Borrowing Service

On May 31, the Zagreb City Libraries will introduce the new e-book borrowing service to all members over the age of 15. This will be the first such pilot project in Croatia, it was announced at a press conference by Zagreb City Libraries director Višnja Cej, reports Večernji List on May 26, 2019.

She pointed out that the Zaki e-book borrowing app is straightforward to use, and can be installed on mobile phones, laptops, tablets or computers with the membership card number and a PIN available in all city libraries.

She said that the service would initially include 400 titles selected in collaboration with publishers, but would soon expand and be made available to children as well. The e-books are borrowed for a period of three weeks, and for now, it is not possible to extend the deadline.

Cej said that there will always be people who will want to borrow actual physical books with covers and pages, but there are also those who will want to use their new e-book service in trams, on beaches, anywhere, 24 hours a day. She added that the app was very accessible. Citizens need to be members of the Zagreb City Libraries, have their membership number and a PIN and, “enjoy the new service.”

The e-book project will be launched on May 31 because the libraries wanted to give citizens the new service as a gift for the Day of the City of Zagreb. She believes the platform will contribute to the popularization of book reading in the virtual environment. The program is co-financed by the City of Zagreb.

The press conference also presented the initial proposal for the new building of the central city library branch at the Paromlin site. Ismena Meić, head of the branch, said that by launching a tender for the design at the end of last year, the City of Zagreb had made a significant step towards solving two problems – reviving the Paromlin industrial heritage complex and finding the adequate accommodation for the main branch, which has changed several locations since its establishment in 1907 and is currently housed at the so-called Starčević building.

“By implementing the new building project, the city library would accomplish its centennial dream which would allow the valuable fund with almost 500,000 units to be gathered at one location. The new building will become a living room for citizens, the centre of the city and the public space that will provide citizens with access to information, programmes and services. It will become a new symbol of Zagreb, a city oriented towards knowledge, learning and culture,” she said.

Mayor Milan Bandić said that he was proud that Zagreb allocates seven per cent of its budget for culture, while the share on the national level is just 0.8 per cent. “In order to promote reading, we have enabled children to become members of all city library branches free of charge. We are the second worst country in Europe by reading, so we have to do something about that,” said Bandić.

Translated from Večernji List.

More news about books in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Book Night 2019 Launched

ZAGREB, April 23, 2019 - The eighth edition of Book Night, an annual event aimed at promoting reading and books, was formally inaugurated at the National and University Library in Zagreb on Tuesday amid alarming reports about a sharp decline in book reading from the previous year.

The latest survey of reading habits, carried out by the Kvaka agency, revealed a decline in book reading in Croatia in the past year, from 56 percent in 2017 to 42 percent in 2018.

The opening ceremony was addressed by Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divljak, who highlighted the importance of book reading and its impact on social development.

Nenad Bartolčić, a member of the organising committee, spoke of negative developments in the country, noting that both the number of people who had read at least one book last year and the number of people who had bought at least one book in the last three months had dropped. He also drew attention to a decline in book production and "a chronic shortage of quality releases."

"This a long-standing negative trend which we are trying to stop and even reverse, through this event as well. That will require far more activities from all sector stakeholders because one or several events are not enough," Bartolčić said.

Book Night is held to mark World Book and Copyright Day, which is observed on April 23, and Croatian Book Day, marked on April 22. It is being held in 175 cities and towns across Croatia, with over 800 programmes. This year's theme is "Favourite Book and Comic Book Characters and Heroes".

More news about books can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Book Night to Be Held on April 23

ZAGREB, April 8, 2019 - The eighth edition of Book Night, an annual event aimed at promoting reading and books, will be held on April 23, and the main theme will be fictional characters and heroes.

Book Night will be organised in bookshops, second-hand and antiquarian bookshops, libraries and various institutions throughout Croatia. Its aim is to provide a creative impetus to reading, promoting books and discussing the status and importance of books in contemporary society.

This year's theme "Favourite Book and Comic Book Characters and Heroes" was prompted by several anniversaries that are marked this year, such as 180 years since the publication of Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov’s novel "A Hero of Our Time", the 80th anniversary of the launch of Marvel Comics, 50 years since the first publication of Alan Ford, an Italian comic book hugely popular in Croatia and ex-Yugoslavia, 90 years since the first appearance of Popeye the Sailor, and the 50th anniversary of the birth and 20th anniversary of the death of Edvin Biuković, an influential Croatian comic strip artist.

The event coincides with World Book and Copyright Day, which is observed on April 23, and follows up on Croatian Book Day, marked on April 22.

More news about books in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Old Steam Mill to Be Turned into Zagreb City Library

The UPI-2M architectural studio, best known for designing the Arena sports halls in Zagreb, has won the first prize at the competition for the architectural proposal for the new Zagreb city library at Paromlin (old steam mill), reports Večernji List on March 2, 2019.

As announced yesterday by the Zagreb Architects Society (DAZ), twenty proposals were submitted to the competition that was published last October, and the jury selected the top five. The UPI-2M project was voted as the best, and the eight-member team will receive 271,040 kuna.

“By analysing the wider and narrower area around Paromlin, we have addressed the question of how to design a city library complex that should take into account the strict conservative regulations which protect the Paromlin buildings as a site of a highly-valuable industrial architecture monument,” said the studio, adding that the organic form of the new part the city library building would be in contrast with the strict lines and the volumes of the existing and protected Paromlin buildings.

For this reason, the facade of the new part would reflect the surrounding components of the complex, the warehouses for flour and silos, as well as the surrounding park which would, according to architects, dematerialise its own volume.

“In the existing Paromlin buildings we plan to accommodate the administrative parts of the library, while the new building and its levels from -1 to +2 would house public facilities, i.e. entrance hall with a conference room, department for children and youth, reading rooms for collections and magazines, music department with a public roof terrace,” explained the UPI-2M studio, adding that the -2 level is reserved for technical areas and the public garage space.

The reconstruction of Paromlin will cost around 300 million kuna, and the new city library will not be constructed until at least 2025. The funding for the project, as announced by the city authorities, should at least partly be provided from the European Union funds.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Mateja Šobak).

More Zagreb news can be found in the dedicated section.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Maroje Mihovilović’s Book “My Grandma Vilma’s Pastries" Presented

The enchanting holiday atmosphere of the Zagreb Esplanade Hotel, with lots of charm and great pastries prepared by chef Ana Grgić and the Esplanade pastry shop according to the original recipes by Vilma Vukelić, hosted the official launch event for a book by Maroje Mihovilović, “My Grandma Vilma’s Pastries”. The book's subtitle, “The Sweet Taste of Austro-Hungary”, introduces us to the sweet history of the Central European table culture and the spirit of the times.

The book was presented at the renowned Zagreb Esplanade Hotel, in a beautiful holiday atmosphere. It is a cookbook, but also a book about history, the table culture, the author's family, and the forgotten habit of enjoying tea parties and pastries. The event was held in the afternoon and brought together many people from the world of media and gastronomy.

Detalji, photo by Berislava Picek.JPG

Berislava Picek 

It all began when a prominent journalist and writer Maroje Mihovilović found a forgotten and almost a hundred-year-old notebook from his grandmother Vilma, in which she wrote down her pastry recipes. Thanks to the book editor, journalist and writer Željko Žutelija, the notebook has been turned into a book about pastries, but also about the spirit of the times when our grandmothers and great-grandmothers lived, in collaboration with the pastry shop of the Esplanade Hotel headed by top chef Ana Grgić.

The story about grandma Vilma is an interesting one. Although she was a writer, she used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and the grandchildren loved her because she taught them about everything, telling them stories and – most importantly for the children– preparing pastries and cakes, such as tasty sweet pies, strudels, floating islands and isler cakes. The damaged and partially unreadable recipe notebook was shown by the book editor and Esplanade’s long-time friend Željko Žutelija to Ana Grgić, who decided to accept the challenge and try to “reconstruct” the recipes and recreate grandma Vilma’s pastries.

Kolači moje omame Vilme - promocija knjige u Esplanadi - Photo Arhiva Esplanade - Ruski kolač.jpg


“These pages hide a treasure – both of words and of tastes and smells, as well as beautiful photos by Berislava Picek,” said at the beginning of the event Sanda Sokol, Esplanade’s marketing manager and public relations director. “Thanks to Maroje Mihovilović and the Profil publishing house, on the initiative of Željko Žutelija, who firmly believed that only the Esplanade pastry team headed by chef Ana Grgić can prepare grandma Vilma's pastries, we have recreated the spirit of a peculiar time period, civic culture and culinary and pastry traditions which we as a hotel belong to. All this is evidenced by the impressive history of the Esplanade Hotel,” Sokol explained.

“My Grandma Vilma’s Pastries”, a glorious time-machine composed of words, photos and authentic tastes of delicious desserts, was also discussed by the author Maroje Mihovilović, chef Ana Grgić and editor of the Profil’s edition Željko Žutelija.

Kolači moje omame Vilme - promocija knjige u Esplanadi - Photo Arhiva Esplanade - Linzer torta.jpg


“Vilma Vukelić, nee Miskolczy, was a writer, translator, intellectual, wife and mother of four children, a strict housewife and an excellent cook. She wrote eight novels, memoirs and many poems, and she also left behind a notebook. As soon as I found it, I realized that it was a culinary and cultural treasure from the time when, in the late 19th century, she used to prepare Central-European-style pastries at the Miskolczy family kitchen in Osijek. I am happy that the recipes from this notebook have been presented in the book and revived by the top Croatian pastry shop of this hotel,” said Maroje Mihovilović.

About the Author

Maroje Mihovilović was born in 1945 in Zagreb. He graduated in history and English language studies from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb. He began his career as a journalist in 1968 as an associate at Studentski List. Starting from 1974, he worked for Večernji List, and from 1975 to 1991 he was a permanent associate and editor of the Start magazine. From 1989 to 2005, he was a regular foreign policy commentator of the Ljubljana daily newspaper Dnevnik, while from 1993 to 2007 he was a correspondent for the British BBC radio from Zagreb. He was one of the founders of the Nacional weekly in 1995, where he was an editor until 2011, and in 2007 he was one of the founders of the College of Journalism. Since 2012, he has been an editor at the Profil publishing house where the edited some fifty books. He is the author of books “Horrible Polygon – Indochina” (1987), “Professional Journalist” (2007), and “We the Children of Solferino” (2017), in which he explored and described the dramatic history of his family in two centuries and on four continents.Kolači moje omame Vilme - promocija knjige u Esplanadi - Photo Arhiva Esplanade6.jpg


About Chef Ana Grgić

This young, but experienced chef has been working at the Esplanade Hotel for 20 years. She has been the chef de cuisine of Zinfandel, one of the best restaurants in Croatia, the charming French-style Le Bistro, and the Esplanade Catering for almost seven years. Ana continues the tradition of the Esplanade’s cuisine, following the best global trends in high gastronomy. Her innovative, creative and imaginative menus have fascinated numerous guests and celebrities from Croatia and abroad in recent years, as well as members of various royal families, such as the King and Queen of Sweden, the Japanese Prince and Princess, the Prince of Saudi Arabia, the royal couple from Denmark, and many others who have not remained indifferent to Ana’s ingenuity in preparing meals.

Ana has received a series of recognitions and awards for the personality, excellence and style of her cuisine. Several prestigious publications have nominated her for the title of the woman of the year and the person of the year. In 2013 and 2016, her risotto was named by the famous Guida Gallo guide as one of the 101 best risottos of the world. Ana's style of cooking and her personality have brought her the opportunity to take part in the popular TV show “Celebrity MasterChef” as a member of the jury.

In addition, Ana is proud to be an ambassador for the Fish Forward project in Croatia, which is part of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) initiative, to be an example and raise the awareness of consumers about the global ecological and social consequences of fishery product consumption.

Ana has been named as the Great Chef of Tomorrow by the Gault & Millaut Guide, with a special emphasis on respecting the seasonality and quality of ingredients and on the consistency and carefulness in crafting her dishes.

In 2018, Ana won the Chef Rotisseur title by the prestigious international culinary society Chaîne des Rotisseurs, whose aim is to connect enthusiasts and professionals from the culinary world.

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