The Faro(pi)s literary festival takes place in Stari Grad on the island of Hvar; started by Jovan Brajović and Mejra Mujičić, owners of the Moira Gallery, it is now entering its seventh year.
The festival was started as the summer edition of the FAK literary festival, at a time when Croatian writers were just beginning with informal public readings of their works.
The festival takes place on an island, which is an attempt at cultural decentralization and bringing live literature to isolated places. This being said, it is important to mention that one of the key details in launching the festival was the literary tradition of the island of Hvar, which was started by Petar Hektorović and Hanibal Lucić, the two greatest Renaissance Croatian writers after Marko Marulić.
This literary festivity, which takes place in August and lasts for four days, always brings out memories of Hektorović and his discourse of the common folk. Even when the works read at the festival belong to the domain of high literature, the atmosphere is always homely and relaxed, and one can always talk to the authors after the readings.
Actually, the town being so small, during these few days it is practically impossible not to run into some of the numerous writers participating in the festival. The town becomes saturated with literature and the townspeople truly live with the writers, which is another goal of the festival and its real success.
When the festival was started, the writers were invited at random, in the spirit of FAK, but as the festival evolved, the concept was developed, with readings grouped according to their themes. Faro(pi)s now features chronicles, essays and plays as well as poetry and fiction.
All these years the festival has hosted foreign writers (from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Montenegro), which gave it an international character.
During the first two years, the festival was located in Stari Grad. In its later editions, some readings took place in other places on the island, such as Vrboska and the town of Hvar.
The festival was launched in 2002 with public readings by Renato Baretić, Miljenko Jergović, Ante Tomić, Jurica Pavičić, Nenad Rizvanović,Tahir Mujičić, Ćićo Senjanović,
Alem Čurin, Ivo Brešan, Ivica Ivanišević and Ahmed Burić.
The second Faro(pi)s in 2003 hosted Tahir Mujičić, Jurica Pavičić, Slobodan Prosperov Novak, Senko Karuza, Ante Tomić, Ivica Ivanišević, Simo Mraović, Goran Nuhanović, Sinan Gudžević, Ervin Jahić, Boris Dežulović, Miljenko Jergović and Lucija Stamać.
The third festival edition in 2004 was the first international one, with Nail Griffiths from Great Britain, Jurij Hudolin from Slovenia and Andrej Nikolaidis from Montenegro, along with Renato Baretić, Mira Bićanić - the TV quiz millionaire, Boris Dežulović, Zoran Ferić, Tatjana Gromača, Ivica Ivanišević, Miljenko Jergović, Senko Karuza, Simo Mraović, Tahir Mujičić, Drago Orlić, Borivoj Radaković, Nenad Rizvanović, Đermano Senjanović and Ante Tomić.
The fourth edition in 2005 introduced a program selected thematically by Jurica Pavičić and Tahir Mujičić, and the fourth evening with readings in Vrboska, in addition to the existing three evenings at the picturesque Stari Grad's Škvor square. Guests of the fourth Faro(pi)s were Andrej Nikolaidis from Montenegro and Vladimir Arsenijević from Serbia, Pete Ayrton, Tony White, Ann Davis and Nail Griffiths from Great Britain, Ahmed Burić and Irfan Horozović from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Veljko Barbieri, Stipe Čuić, Boris Dežulović, Nikola Đuretić, Zoran Ferić, Dubravko Jelačić Bužimski, Miljenko Jergović, Goran Nuhanović, Ante Tomić, Edo Popović and Roman Simić from Croatia. Two new books were presented at the festival: Kroz polja asfodela (Through the Asphodel Fields) by Nataša Badovinac Ostojić and Majstori s mora (Masters from the Coast), an anthology of writings about Hajduk, the biggest Dalmatian football club.
The fifth Faro(pi)s in 2006 was rich in events and themes, presenting several new books, all selected by Tahir Mujičić and Ervin Jahić.
The first evening was dedicated to spiritual poetry, with readings by Drago Štambuk, a poet, doctor and a diplomat, who read from his collection I šišmiši su ptice u bespjevnoj zemlji (Even Bats Are Birds in a Songless Country), and the Bosnian poet Džemaludin Latić who talked about the rich Sufi tradition that his poems are based on.
Velid Imamović read from his translation of Mesnevi (Ma'nawī), a collection of poems from the 13th century, the age of the great Sufi poet Rumi.
The second evening was dedicated to contemporary Croatian literature, with readings by Tonko Maroević and Daša Drndić, who read from her award-winning novel Sonnenschein, then still in print. The same evening also featured Ante Tomić with his collection of newspaper columns Građanin pokorni (The Servile Citizen), along with Emir Imamović and Boris Dežulović. The day after the readings took place at Hektorović's castle Tvrdolj, featuring poems by Joško Božanić, Tonko Maroević, Jakša Fiamengo, Ičica Barišić, Aldo Čavić, Velid Imamović, Boris Dežulović, Maja Gregl, Sanja Lovrenčić, Ivan Herceg, Ervin Jahić, Džemaludin Latić and Tahir Mujičić. One of the evenings was set in the town of Hvar, with readings by Slobodan Prosperov Novak, Renato Baretić, Ante Tomić and Boris Dežulović. The fifth Faro(pi)s ended in Vrboska, with a presentation of four biographies: Sanja Lovrenčić read about Ivana Brlić Mažuranić, Maja Gregl read from her book Osmijeh Lucrezije Borgie (The Smile of Lucrezia Borgia), Veljko Barbieri read from his novel about the emperor Diocletian, and Zvonko Todorovski read from his novel Mandrač, dedicated to Petar Hektorović. Tahir Mujičić talked about the first two novels, while Tonko Maroević discussed the new works of Todorovski and Barbieri.
The sixth Faro(pi)s was opened in front of a large audience, by the famous Bol maestro and an antifascist artist with two surnames and one nickname - Ivica Jakšić Čokrić Puko – with his Poslanica Starograjanima (Epistle to the People of Starigrad), accompanied by his Three Tenors from the Isle. The program was once again organized thematically, this time by Grozdana Cvitan, with readings by Pavle Kalinić, the author of Pušači vremena (Time Smokers) and the Iranian-British poet Sholeh Johnston; Denis Peričić, well-known for his novel Hrvatski psiho (Croatian Psycho) read his story Sve bi da da sam tu (I’d Give Everything to Be There); Zvonko Todorovski, who married a Stari Grad girl, read excerpts from his new, unpublished novel; Ante Tomić was reading hidden behind his wide-brimmed hat. Sarajevo’s Nedžad Ibrišimović was a real discovery: he knew excerpts from his novel by heart, and was introduced as a literary institution, and a Bosnian Nobel candidate. Renato Baretić read from Pričaj mi o njoj (Tell Me about Her) and Boris Dežulović read from Poglavnikova bakterija (The President’s Bacteria).
The moderator was Ervin Jahić, with his collection of poems called Avganistanski kristali (Afghan Crystals), and the event took place in the beautiful garden of the Biankini palace.
FARO(PI)S traditionally takes place at the beautiful Škor square, surrounded by balconies and the stone staircases that lead to them. The flower bushes hang from balconies and terraces, giving the pure and hard stone architecture the impression of fullness and weight.