Mateja Gomboc wins Desetnica Prize for best young adult novel

Ljubljana, 26 May - Author Mateja Gomboc has been awarded the Desetnica Prize for best children's or young adult novel by the Slovenian Writers' Association (DSP) for her novel Balada o Drevesu (The Ballad about a Tree) that the jury found to be a moving story about love and loss.

The cover of Mateja Gomboc's young adult novel The Ballad about a Tree.
Photo: STA

The young adult novel, published by Miš in 2021, beat nine other contenders to win the prize. It plunges the reader into a whirlwind of dark, but also beautiful moments.

The author conveys the story in all its complexity and with astonishing precision, the jury said as they conferred the prize on Thursday.

In the novel, the first-person narrator Ada, a third-year secondary school student and a talented violinist, is confronted with the aftermath of her boyfriend Majk's suicide.

"In addition to its interesting metaphors and lean writing style, the novel offers an in-depth insight into an extremely traumatic experience - often death is already taboo in youth literature, but suicide is even more so," the jury noted.

Gomboc, a Slovenian and Italian teacher, teaches Slovenian at the Škofijska Grammar School in Ljubljana, a Catholic secondary school. Since 2012, she has been the assistant editor of the children's magazine Mavrica (Rainbow).

She writes for children, teenagers and adults.

© STA, 2022