In his interview with Southeast Europe: People and Culture, Miljenko Jergović, president of the selection jury said that this year's competition was the strongest in all the nine years the competition has been running. He said that all 13 runner-up manuscripts were "more or less" equally good books but that, eventually, the jury unanimously voted for The Leader.
"It is an extremely well written, impressive, exciting, poetic and modern book," Jergović said.
“Considering the fact that the action takes place on St. Vitus’s day in 1914, one could imagine that this was a historical novel, and yet it is not,” Jergović said.
“It is a book about the Balkans, about the Balkan wars and Balkan officers and our earlier and most recent wars. More than anything else, it is an exceptional modern novel” said the well-known author who was this time the president of the jury.
The winner of this year's competition will receive an award of around €13,700. The winner, Aleksandar Novaković, was born in Belgrade in 1975. He has written novels, plays, aphorisms, poems and short stories and he is a member of a rock band called "Skribomani."
Interliber presented a wide selection of books by a number of different authors. Besides introducing new titles, there were many round tables, conversations with authors, literary workshops and meetings between publishers and bookshop owners.
Over the course of the past few years in Croatia, there has been a marked growth in the number of book titles published. This has resulted in more than 7,000 titles being published this year, either for the first time or reprints.
The publishers say that in a country of 4.4 million people, around 2,500 novels are published a year. The effects of the crisis over the last few years has become evident in the fact that do-it-yourself books as well as books on finance management and cookbooks were among those with the highest demand. In the same period however, there has also been a notable increase in the demand for books by foreign authors.