Wednesday, September 28, 2016

An autobiography of war-time Bitola

Thanks to my dear friend Jim Hlavac from Australia I have recently receieved the English edition of Akchilnica (which literaly translates in little restaurant) by Vera Buzarovska. The English translation done by Paul Filev is titled The Last Summer in the Old Bazaar. The English translation is published by Saguaro Books, Arizona in 2015.

This semi-autobiografical novel talks about live in Bitola, right before and during the Second World War, under German and Bulgarian occupation. It describes the ethnic diversity of the town before the deportation of the large Jewish community to Treblinka. We see all these event through the eyes of an eleven years old girl. She works at a small restaurant in the Old Bazaar together with Sami, who is Albanian and Leon, who is Jewish.

Listen to Jim and Paul talking at the Melburn promotion of the book here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hedgemond the Hedgehog in Hong Kong

Little Hedgemond the Hunter from the story "Hedgehog's Home" (Ježeva kućica, Branko Ćopić) landed in Hong Kong and had a great fun with some 5-7 year old studens, who enjoyed the forest advantures of this brave and modest hedgehog, translated in English by Susan Curtis, published by Istros Books.

Hedgehogs are not a very common sight in Hong Kong, and some kids thought that hedgehogs' spikes can be poisonous and deadly. However, all the kids immediatelly fell in love with little Hedgemond.

Little Hedgemond (Ježurka Ježić) also told kids about his native home in the forests.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Looking forward to 2015

Many will use the last month of this year to summerise the year that passed. There will be lists of the best of 2014, best books included. I decided to do something with a more forward look in mind. I decided to conclude this year of Western Balkan books in translation with offering my view on the best in Western Balkans literature for children and young adults. These are my recomndations for books that should get their translations into English.

I will start with my all time childhood favourites:

1. Пријателите Бон и Бона [My Friends Ken and Dee] by Olivera Nikolova (1974). A little lonely girl gets two new friends when her candy suddenly transforms into two  funny looking and advantourous little people who could fit in her pocket.

2. Самовилското коњче [The Fairie Horse] by Dushko Nanevski (1978). This book is a collection of contemporary retellings of some of the most loved Macedonian folk tales.

There are some contemporary authors and books that take the folklore as the inspiration for their works of fantasy:

3. Deca Bestragije [Bestragia Children] by Uroš Petrović (2013).  A beautifuly narrated novel packed with adventure based on Serbian mytology. "In those days the Balkan was a bleak windy land. Borders were wild, fragile and porous, and all kinds of human and non-human beeings were wondering through the secretive paths of the pictouresque peninsula, spreading around the seeds of all sorts of curses and miracles ..."

4. Sjeverozapadni vjetar [The Tales of the Wind] by Zdenko Bašić (2011). Another fairly new fantasy book of fairies and other mitical forest dwellers from the Croatian regions of Medvednica and Samoborsko gorje. The author of the stories is even more famous as an illustrator, and he promises we will soom see these stories in a movie format as well.

And last but not least, maybe not for children, but more for young adults, a book am attempting to translate into English, still looking for a publisher interested to take on this project:

5. Невестата на змејот [The Dragon's Bride] by Vlada Urošević (2008). Based in the Macedonian folklore, this is a tale of the travels between the worlds of Low-land and High-land, a quest of a brother to find his lost sister, who is said to have been kidnapped by the dragon.

And the secret is out - I love a good fantasy adventure :)