Florjan Lipuš gets Grand Golden Badge of Honour of Carinthia

Klagenfurt, 12 July - Florjan Lipuš, who is considered the most important writer of the Slovenian minority in the Austrian state of Carinthia, has received the Grand Golden Badge of Honour of Carinthia for his contribution to the preservation of the Slovenian language and major literary work.

Slovenian minority author Florjan Lipuš.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

As he handed out the decoration to Lipuš at a ceremony in Klagenfurt on Monday, Carinthian Governor Peter Kaiser said the laureate was one of the most important representatives of Slovenian literature both in Carinthia and in Austria as a whole.

Speaking at the ceremony at the seat of the Carinthian government, the governor said Lipuš had made a major contribution to preserving the Slovenian language and that the decoration also paid tribute to the author's literary work.

Kaiser added that Lipuš had significantly enriched Slovenian culture in Carinthia and had a major contribution to Slovenian literature establishing itself in the southern Austrian state, "a land with two regional languages".

Lipuš said in his speech that the decoration was primarily a decoration for the Slovenian language. For someone without Slavic roots, it could be a very difficult language, he said, expressing the hope that it would continue to be respected.

"We would be happy if [the Slovenian language] was respected on other days as well," he said, noting that it was miraculous that Slovenians had managed to preserve the Slovenian language and its dual in the first place.

The National Council of Carinthian Slovenians, an umbrella organisation of the Slovenian minority in the Austrian state, congratulated Lipuš by saying that he was a "unique writer, a great of the Slovenian language."

It added that he was a "literary figure who is not born every day" and that Austrian author Peter Handke, the laureate of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature, had noted on several occasions that Lipuš deserved the prize.

Lipuš, who last month received an honorary doctorate of the Klagenfurt University for his literary work, is considered the most important Slovenian writer in the Austrian Carinthia.

Born in 1937 in the bilingual village of Lobnig bei Bad Eisenkappel (Lobnik pri Železni Kapli), he has a number of accolades to his name, including the Prešeren Prize, the top Slovenian award for artistic achievements, which he received in 2004.

In February 2019, Lipuš was honoured by President Borut Pahor with the Golden Order of Service for his "contribution to Slovenian literature and for providing a new and fresh view of what it means to be Slovenian."

He received the decoration four months after he was given the Grand Austrian State Prize, the highest accolade given out by the country for outstanding achievements in arts and culture.

Lipuš best known work is Zmote Dijaka Tjaža (The Errors of Young Tjaž; 1972), an intimate portrait of an angsty young man struggling to cope in a nationally and ideologically divided world.

He writes in his native Slovenian language mostly about the topics of war and Nazism, as he witnessed his mother being arrested and taken to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she died in 1943. His father served in the German army.

© STA, 2022