Modrý Peter

Modry Peter was founded in 1991 on the back of the Velvet revolution when state run publishing houses suspended their operations, which gave birth to new small independent ones. Most of these new publishers found an opportunity to orient their books and authors toward profit. But, there were a few publishing houses that responded to the new freedom with more responsibility: to bring literature of great value to their readers. Modry Peter was one of the latter ones.

The rise of independent publishers that did not see profit as their primary goal was a manifestation of the desire for the word to be free and the desire to publish and distribute text without censure or bounds. As most of you know, before this time we lived under a regime that suppressed and censored the words and actions of its citizens. In comparison to the Czech republic, our samizdat culture almost did not exist.

That is why the rise of several small nonprofit publishing houses with different publishing strategies contributed towards the growing world of literature in Slovakia.

Modry Peter is a one man publishing house: in an effort to minimize its operational expenses most of the responsibilities are carried out by a single person.

From the very beginning it was focused on publishing Slovak and translated poetry. Occasionally, it publishes literary theory, fiction, drama, and books for children. On average, Modry Peter publishes eight titles annually, the majority of which are poetry collections.

The same amount of diligence and attention to detail that goes towards the text is given to the presentation of the book itself. Several have been awarded with the prize "The Most Beautiful Book of Slovakia".

Modry Peter strives to promote Slovak literature abroad and has published several anthologies in multiple languages (English, German, French and Polish) as well as books of collected poems by our now classic writers: Ivan Laučík, Ján Buzássy and Miroslav Válek, the last mentioned volume in cooperation with the famous English publishing house Bloodaxe Books.

The publishing house is the home of our most celebrated poets Ivan Laučík, Ivan Štrpka, Peter Repka who in the 60's formed the literary group known as The Solitary Runners. It also brought Slovak readers one of Norway's most celebrated authors, Jon Fosse. We gradually released his fiction, essays, poetry and books for children.

Modry Peter also frequently organizes events such as poetry readings and book launches, and also hosts the largest festival of Slovak Poetry in the country.

It is necessary to convey that Slovak publishers of poetry operate in an atypical regime. Their financial resources are largely constrained to the support of the state fund for the arts. Considering the average publishing costs including the printing of a few hundred copies, the publishers would not exist without this financial support. Those who run the three most relevant publishing houses of poetry do not count on their efforts to provide them subsistence, they all have other occupations and publishing is merely their "professional hobby". They nonetheless continue with endurance and passion, which is why these publishing houses continue to exist today.