In May, 1963 the Slovenian Writers’ Association, in collaboration with the Slovene PEN Centre and the Slovene Association of Literary Translators, issued the first volume of Le Livre Slovène, a journal dedicated to promoting Slovene literature and culture abroad. Initially the journal published Slovene literary texts translated into French and German, and from time to time also into English. In the 1970s the first publications in Italian and Russian appeared, in the 1980s also in Spanish. After 1991, when the journal changed its name into Litterae Slovenicae, the majority of translations were into English. Portuguese, meanwhile, was added to the languages mentioned above.
The priority has always been given to publishing Slovene writing in translation – mostly literature but also essays. The journal has respected the entire Slovenian cultural space. Occasionally the editorship decided to publish catalogues of current editions of Slovene literature in translation. The journal also brought out the records of round-table discussions and investigations, whether organized by the editorship or part of the international authors’ meetings in Bled and of the PEN conferences (the latter also including authors from abroad).
The editorship has always taken care to achieve a balanced between representations of different generations of Slovene authors and the promotion of classics of Slovene literature. It has produced anthologies of various literary genres over different periods, collections of texts related to literary events, among others to the Vilenica Festival, and monograph issues. Originally the aim of publishing essays was to aid understanding of the published literary texts. However, essays have also been published independently, mostly as an interpretation of the changing social context in Slovenia. In the 1970s the publications were decorated by reproductions of Slovene works of visual art.
The journal primarily publishes original Slovene literature in translation, foregrounding single authors, genres, or periods. Some issues have also been dedicated to essays, bibliographies, reviews, and literary events, such as the Vilenica International Literary Festival. Some of the themes included in the journal have been: Contemporary Slovene Short Stories (1991, issue 79), Ten Slovenian Poets of the Nineties (2002, issue 100), Tales Growing Up into Secrets. An Anthology of Contemporary Slovene Youth Literature (2007, issue 111), and Tomaž Šalamun: When the Shadow Breaks (2011, issue 128).
Today Litterae slovenicae reaches mainly those readers who serve as agents for the broader public: those present at book fairs and literary festivals, literary critics, publishers, literary agents, translators, universities, libraries, cultural centres, embassies, etc. It remains a suitable gift for any occasion and can promote similar gestures in return. Litterae Slovenicae is available both for interested individuals in bookshops in Slovenia and the world over. Litterae slovenicae has also recently started collaborating with the online bookstore Bookwire, one of the most established e-book distributors in the world.
In 2015, Slovene Writers’ Association, with the support of the European Commission, started implementing the project Litteræ Slovenicæ: Small Literature in Large Languages, which created an informative web portal https://litteraeslovenicae.si/, intended for foreign readers, which includes information on all issues editions, as well as authors and translators.