0947 GMT May 23, 2018
As an outcome of increased cultural interactions between Iran and Serbia in the field of publication in recent years, the European state has been invited to attend the 31st Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) as a special guest.
The country has set up a pavilion in the international division of the Iranian expo, which opened on May 2 and will run for 10 days, to showcase its cultural materials and hold its programs.
This is the fifth time in the history of the Tehran-based exposition that a country has been invited to take part as a special guest. Earlier, however, it was customary for those counties holding international book fairs to invite other countries to their expos as special guests.
By hosting Serbia in the present edition of the book fair, Iran mainly intends to promote cultural interactions with the country and provide Iranians with the opportunity to gain more knowledge about the European state's culture and literature.
Commenting on Serbia's participation in this year's exhibition, Srđan Markotić, the deputy secretary of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, who is among those in charge of his country's pavilion, told Iran Daily that the European state also took part in the Iranian expo last year.
He added nevertheless, based on a decision by the two countries' culture ministries, this year Serbia is attending the book fair as the special guest.
Markotić said two years ago, Iran was the guest of honor at the 61st International Belgrade Book Fair (IBBF).
He added Serbia's pavilion was inaugurated on the first day of the exhibition in a ceremony attended by Serbian Culture Minister Vladan Vukosavljevic and a number of the directors of the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
Markotic noted that in addition to the Serbian minister of culture, the director of Belgrade's Ethnographic Museum as well as the presidents of Belgrade University Library and National Library of Serbia are in Iran for the opening ceremony.
He added three Serbian authors are also taking part in the exhibition.
"Goran Petrović is among the most important contemporary writers of Serbia. His books have been translated into several language. He has won the NIN Award — a prestigious Serbian literary award established in 1954 by the NIN weekly and is given annually for the best newly published novel in Serbian literature. Among his most famous novels are 'An Atlas Traced by the Sky', 'The Siege of the Church of Saint Salvation', 'Next of Kin' and 'Differences'."
He said Dejan Aleksić, the other Serbian writer attending the expo, is among the most important creators of literary works suitable for the young generation in Serbia.
Also a poet, Aleksić's works are quite popular among children in Serbia, Markotić added noting his works are mostly in the genre of drama.
"These authors will share their experiences with interested visitors by holding workshops and delivering speeches during the Iranian expo. They will also expected to interact with Iranian authors and book lovers over the course of the exhibition."
Underlining the importance of Serbia's literature, Markotić said the country has been home to many internationally renowned authors, adding Ivo Andrić (October 9, 1892-March 13, 1975) was a famous Serbian novelist, poet and short story writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961.
"His books have been translated into Persian and other languages."
Regretting that few books by Iranian writers have been translated into Serbian, he said most of the Persian literary works translated into Serbian are those by classical Iranian poets.
"Thus, Serbians know Iranian poets, particularly, Ferdowsi — the author of the world's longest epic poem created by a single poet, Hafez, Sa'di Shirazi and Omar Khayyam. In recent years, however, Iranian film directors such as Abbas Kiarostami as well as Asghar Farhadi and flicks including 'About Elly' and 'The Salesman' — both directed by Farhadi — have gained fame and popularity in Serbia.
In a separate interview with Iran Daily, the secretary of creative industry of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, Mirko Palja, said some 315 book titles are on display in Serbia’s pavilion at the TIBF, which are among the country's most important historical and literary works.
He added some of the books are for children and young adults.
Palja said these books will be donated to the National Library of Iran.
Commenting on TIBF's 31st edition, he noted that the expo is bigger than many of the expos he has visited or attended so far.
Palja said the Iranian book fair also has a large number of pavilions and sections.
He lauded the large number of visitors to the expo.