November 30, 2009

Miŝ Publishers had invited me for a five day stay in Slovenia, where a translation of Mother Number Zero recently appeared:
Mama ŝtevilka nič – Dob pri Domžalah: Miš, 2007. Translation Katjuša Ručigaj.

So far I had only seen Slovenia through the windshield of a car – for me it had always been a country to drive through in a hurry on the way south. From now on it will be a place to stay. The south can wait for a while.
My accommodation was wonderful: hotel Slamic in Ljubljana.
The town is elegant, inviting and well-kept. A lot of refurbishment has been done recently – and overdone in some cases. The town castle looked just a bit too pretty to my liking.
Everything went without a hitch, thanks to Irena and Janez Miš – even the weather was exceptionally mild for the season. I was driven east and west, always enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
I met Slovenian authors, my translator and other people from the book trade.
I have never been received with such warmth as in the schools and libraries I visited. Nearly all pupils had read some of my work and the questions they asked were particularly well-informed and to the point. Afterwards I was given presents, like a volume of poetry by a gifted student which the school had had printed, or a picture book with children’s drawings.
As Slovenia has a population of only two million inhabitants, editions are small and book prices high. For this reason libraries are all the more important. Some of the ones I saw enjoyed great prestige and were quite impressive from an architectural point of view. The director of Ptuj Public Library  told me to have a look at this website, which has an overview of outstanding Slovenian libraries. He also kindly said that next time I should stay in Ptuj a little longer. Well, I replied, in that case I would like to sleep in the library, in the hall with the big chandeliers.
Slovenia is definitely worth a trip, especially one arranged by Miš Publishers. Only the return journey was less comfortable, as I found myself carrying both a bulging suitcase and a painting depicting the Slovenian mountains



November 4, 2009


On 11 November I’ll do two reading sessions in Aachen. That’s in the thick of the Aachener Kinder- und Jugendbuchwochen (Aachen Juvenile Literature Weeks).
On 15 November I’ll put in an appearance at the Kinderhoogdag, a cultural event for children in Overijsse, Belgium.
From 17 to 21 November I’ll visit Slovenia. Miŝ Publishers have put up a wonderful programme for me, including a press conference, visits to schools and libraries, meetings with representatives of the children’s book trade and (I’m looking forward to this!) a  short trip in the mountains.