STA, 1 April 2019 - Aksinja Kermauner has resigned as the president of the Slovenian Writers' Association (Društvo slovenskih pisateljev, DSP). While Kermauner is expected to present her reasons on Tuesday, her resignation coincides with that of four DSP assistants. The first reactions indicate serious organisational and financial issues at the association.
Kermauner, a youth fiction author, poet and pedagogue, was appointed as DSP president only last September, succeeding Ivo Svetina, who had resigned in June over personal reasons.
The exact reason for her decision, which became public on Sunday, remains unclear, the newspaper Delo reported however today of a clash between DSP associates Nika Brajnik, Nina Kokelj, Agata Šimenc and Nana Vogrin and some of the DSP members and the management board.
The four, which had helped organise some of the DSP's major projects, resigned after failing to receive new temporary contracts and in the face of accusations about their handling of finances. They also spoke of being subject to bullying.
DSP vice-president and management board member Gabriela Babnik commented by saying the association was struggling with financial problems, "as are hundreds of associations around Slovenia".
"We were executing projects the same way we did five or ten years ago but the funding has been decreasing constantly," Babnik said, adding "the ladies refused to understand that". She does not believe any bullying took place.
Former DSP president Vlado Žabot also believes the tensions were mostly the result of the association being understaffed and underfunded while taking on ever new tasks.
PEN Slovenia head Ifigenija Simonovič commented by saying that much of what is being done by the DSP was based on voluntary work. Some projects which require enormous contributions are managed by poorly paid individuals who Simonovič said "are in fact the DSP's engine".
"A handful are working, while a 100 are sitting in their chair, watching and criticising. If we criticise those who are truly working, it is normal that things burst at one point," Simonovič said, suggesting the state needed to get involved to secure adequate funding.