The very existence of Booksa, a literary club that celebrated its ten-year anniversary in 2014, is one of those “minor” miracles crucial for the cultural life of Zagreb.
The association Kulturtreger, which founded Booksa, was among the first in the local context after the 1990’s that dealt with literature in an unconventional way, and its initial move was the establishment of the club Booksa. The club is envisaged as an “open space that offers its members the possibility to shape their leisure time as an active and educational experience”. In other words, this is a place where anyone is free to come to relax or work, have a drink and read some of the books and magazines from Booksa’s rich book collection, or simply to hang out or surf the Internet. All who drop by are asked to pay annual membership fee that costs 10 kuna because Booksa is run by a non profit organization i.e. it’s not privately owned. The current number of the members exceeds an impressive 13,000.
The club boasts a very diverse programme, which involves literature and arts in general, allowing guests to enjoy literary evenings as part of Booksa’s Literary Boudoir, with hosts Dunja Kučinac, Matko Vladanović, Dinko Kreho, Tomislav Augustinčić, Luka Šipetić and others. Guest performances in Booksa included numerous authors; writers of prose, poets, musicians and comic book authors, both domestic and foreign, some more and some less known…
Once a year, the Review of Small Literatures is held, as part of which the literary scenes of countries less known in Croatia are presented (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Albania…). Another popular programme, Škrabica, an adventure musical-acoustic programme initiated by Luka Belani, Ante Perković and Nina Romić, hosted today by the blues-musician Adam Semijalac alias Bebé na Volé, gathers numerous singers-songwriters and lo-fi musicians. Booksa also offers creative writing workshops, as well as the Centre for Documenting Independent Culture, in which Kulturtreger, in cooperation with the association Kurziv, collects materials created by the Croatian independent cultural scene from the 1990’s until today.
Finally, an integral part of Booksa is the portal Booksa.hr, a focal point for literature in the Croatian corners of the Internet. The portal’s editor-in-chief and executive editor Luka Ostojić and Neven Svilar make sure on a daily basis that the audiences are provided with the latest literary works: stories and short stories, columns and reviews, reports and interviews… In this way, physical space is intertwined with virtual space, and the portal is changing the online community in the same way the establishment of Booksa was the first messenger of today’s changes in the ‘Martićeva Zone’.