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Comic book about Cankar's life declared book of the year

Ljubljana, 25 November - A comic book about the life of author Ivan Cankar (1876-1918) has won the Book of the Year Grand Prix at the 34rd Slovenian Book Fair, which will conclude later today.

Ljubljana.
Biographic novel entitled Ivan Cankar: Podobe iz Življenja (Ivan Cankar: Images from Life) by Blaž Vurnik and Zoran Smiljanić has won the Book of the Year Grand Prix at the 34rd Slovenian Book Fair.
Photo: STA

Ljubljana
Debate on Book of the Year Grand Prix at the 34rd Slovenian Book Fair.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Ljubljana
Debate on Book of the Year Grand Prix at the 34rd Slovenian Book Fair.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Ljubljana
Debate on Book of the Year Grand Prix at the 34rd Slovenian Book Fair.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Ljubljana
Debate on Book of the Year Grand Prix at the 34rd Slovenian Book Fair.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Ljubljana
Debate on Book of the Year Grand Prix at the 34rd Slovenian Book Fair.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Ljubljana
Debate on Book of the Year Grand Prix at the 34rd Slovenian Book Fair.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

The biographic novel entitled Ivan Cankar: Podobe iz Življenja (Ivan Cankar: Images from Life) by Blaž Vurnik and Zoran Smiljanić marked the centenary of Cankar's death, observed this year.

"The precise, chronologically linear Vurnik's screenplay is supported by fragments from Cankar's works, letters and documents from his time. Skilfully zoomed black-and-white images in Smiljanić's recognisable film language are dynamically intertwined with the self-conscious design and typographic attentiveness of Katja Kastelic," the jury said.

The comic book translates an intense life story, full of twists and turns and fatal decisions, into a "superb reading experience", according to the jury.

The authors of the comprehensive publishing project have created a work that will be also topical beyond 2018, Cankar's year. "They have created a character of the biggest Slovenian writer that we have not known before", the jury said.

A hundred years after his death, Cankar has become an immortal comic book hero thanks to the book issued by the Ljubljana Museums and Galleries and Forum Ljubljana as a special issue of Stripburger, a comics magazine, it added.

The five-member jury assessed books that were issued between 1 October 2017 and 1 October 2018 based on their contents, editing, language, design, illustrations, photographs and graphics.

Next to the winning book, four other books were shortlisted for the prize: Žiga Valetič's review of the Slovenian pop-rock in the 1980s, Novi Maribor (New Maribor) by Primož Premrzl, Anja Štefan with her collection of poems for children whose title translates as Crumbs from Mouse Valley, which already earned her this year's Večernica prize, and a book about Aleš Debeljak's postcards by Erica Johnson Debeljak and Nela Malečkar.

Last year, the Book of the Year Grand Prix went to Vrata Nepovrata (The Door of No Return), an epic poem which took Boris A. Novak 20 years to write.

The Slovenian Book Fair, the biggest publishing event in the country, started on Tuesday evening featuring 106 exhibitors and more than 300 events. The organisers estimated the number of visitors at some 30,000.

The fair, which paid homage to Cankar this year, will close this evening with a debate featuring Croatian author Slobodan Šnajder and playwright Dušan Jovanović.

mab/av/mab
© STA, 2018