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Slovenian Australian Reading Tour 2009

Slovenian Australian Reading Tour 2009

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AUSTRALIAN READING TOUR 14 - 25 September 2009; REPORT 27 October 2009. The first tour to promote contemporary children’s literature of Slovenia, in fostering international educational and intercultural dialogue, organized by Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria Inc. Melbourne, Australia. http://www.thezaurus.com/

AUSTRALIAN READING TOUR 14 - 25 September 2009; REPORT 27 October 2009. The first tour to promote contemporary children’s literature of Slovenia, in fostering international educational and intercultural dialogue, organized by Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria Inc. Melbourne, Australia. http://www.thezaurus.com/

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AUSTRALIAN READING TOUR 14 - 25 September 2009
The first tour to promote contemporary children’s literature of Slovenia in fosteringinternational educational and intercultural dialogue
Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria Inc.REPORT - 27 October 2009Purpose:
Promotion of the new first bilingual (Slovenian/English) Forget-Me-Nots (Spomin
č
ice) children’s bookseries with five writers from Slovenia, ten books published from 2006 to 2009. The authors are successful andpopular writers of contemporary children’s literature. The books are entertaining, and educational. Four booksof the series have been introduced into school programs in ten primary schools throughout Slovenia in 2008.Free workbooks with student activities in the classroom were published. For the Tour, in September 2009workbooks of four books were translated into English by A. Ceferin (ISSV), and are downloadable on the Web.
Writers:
Slavko Pregl (President of the Slovene Writers’ Association), Evald Flisar (Editor in Chief of Sodobnost, leading literary and cultural journal in Slovenia), Jana Bauer, Cvetka Bevc, and Tatjana Kokalj.
Organizer:
Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria Inc, Melbourne.
Partner organizations:
Slovenia: Two publishers of the series: Sodobnost International, Vodnikova Publishing House, Ljubljana.Australia: State Library of Victoria, Slovenian Catholic Mission - Ss. Cyril and Methodius.
Supported by:
Slovenian Embassy of Canberra, Honorary Consul General of Republic of Slovenia, in NSW, Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators Australia, The Hughenden Arts and Literary Hotel.,
ISSV - as Australian partner 
ISSV was asked by E. Flisar of Sodobnost International to act as distributor of Forget Me Nots books inAustralia in 2007. This was accepted, in order that the landmark Slovenian children’s book series would reachthe Australian public. In December 2008 E. Flisar requested ISSV to invite writers from Slovenia and organizea Reading Tour in 2009. ISSV also proposed a project for series of Slovenian cultural evenings (“kulturnive
č
eri”) where films and a reading program by Slovenian writers would engage Australian audiences. In lateJune 2009 was funding approved by the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia for the writers to participate in anAustralian Reading Tour. Although no funding was offered for ISSV to organize or promote, it agreed toorganize the events and to promote the books before and during the Tour with a media campaign. The tour was tailored according to the writers tour dates schedule, reading content, and the puppet performance. TheVictorian Writer’s Centre was already booked out for the year.
Educational project and a cultural dialogue
The Reading Tour of five writers was envisaged by ISSV as ideal for both an educational and cultural program.Tours and cultural events provide the opportunity to promote reading Slovenian literature, learning more aboutSlovenia and Europe, and generate more networking between Slovenia and Australia. The State Library of Victoria offered a half-day program in December to the authors to include activities for children, readings andpuppet performance. The Library also offered to involve schools subject to a more detailed program. TheLibrary showed great interest in supporting public reading events, particularly for family, youth and adults, ascan be viewed on the web sitehttp://www.slv.vic.gov.au/and was keen to include a multicultural presence.
TOUR ORGANIZATION and PUBLICITY by ISSV. Dec 2008 - Oct 2009
1. Venues and Program:
 
Victoria
: ISSV initially approached the State Library of Victoria as the most prestigious venue in Victoria, for areading, performance, or activity-based program, during its school holidays educational program. It wasselected as the main venue for readings, and the potential for the greatest exposure for a reading program.
New South Wales:
A. Ceferin contacted representatives of the Slovenian community in Sydney. TheSlovenian Embassy of Canberra, and Honorary Consul General Alfred Bre
ž
nik supported this initiative. Theresult was an official reception held by the Slovenian Embassy, represented by Gregor Kozovinc Charged’Affaires a.i., on 16 Sept, at The Hughenden Hotel, and readings facilitated by A. Bre
ž
nik at two primaryschools.
Readings venues in Australia
Melbourne: State Library of Victoria, Slovenian Catholic Mission - Ss. Cyril and Methodius;Sydney: The Hughenden Arts and Literary Hotel, Cranbrook Junior School, Trinity Grammar School.
 
State Library of Victoria
http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/ The Learning Services Department of the Library, represented by Hamish Curry, accepted the proposal to holdreadings. He also facilitated the events and SLV publicity. Staff of SLV Learning Services and Manager of theCentre for Youth Literature, Paula Kelly, met the writers at the networking lunch held in State Library receptionrooms. The authors gifted to the Library Collection the ForgetMeNots series and Evald Flisar’s prose anddrama works in English translation.
2. Publicity for Tour and Books PromotionState Library of Victoria publicity
SLV advertised the Slovenian Readings in three locations on its web site in August: in programs & events,school holidays activities, and the library program guide Sep to Feb 2010.
State Library of Victoria brochure;
Spring/Summer program 2009, p. 23,The brochure is distributed in Victorian schools; 50,000 copies are published.
For the two readings, 11.00am-12pm 19 & 22 September 2009
http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/programs/brochure/index.html The brochure is in ISSV Online Archives located in http://www.scribd.com/thezaurushttp://www.scribd.com/doc/21309061/State-Library-of-Vic-Slovenian-readings-19-22-Sept-2009 Links:http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/programs/whats_on/2009/wo_0909_e.html 
Slovenian Storytelling: Land of Fairytales”
readingshttp://www.slv.vic.gov.au/programs/family_programs/childrens_activities.html 
Articles written by ISSV for the Web - with focus on book information and tour promotion
Published in:
Slovenci.si - Events
http://www.slovenci.si/dogodek/2009081009315824/ 18 Jul09http://www.thezaurus.com/ISSV/Slovenian_Writers_Down_Under_14_25_Sept_2009 29 Aug09http://www.thezaurus.com/ISSV/Forget_Me_Nots_bilingual_books_series_Where_to_buy_in_Australia 24 Sep09http://www.thezaurus.com/language/forget_me_nots_books_-_students_activities_workbooks 
Publicity material published:In Slovenian:
Slovenian network in Australiahttp://www.glasslovenije.com.au/slovenskiPisateljiAvstralija2009.html Misli – Thoughts, No.5, September/October 2009, p.33http://www.glasslovenije.com.au/verweb/Misli/misli_2009/misliSep_2009.pdf  
Radio - 3 ZZZ community radio
Aug-Sep09 – Two interviews by Meta Lenar 
č
i
č
with Aleksandra Ceferin about the Tour and books; A. Ceferinread extracts from “In the Land of Gingerbread”/”V de
ž
eli Medenjakov” and “Spots…”/”Pikpokec…”
In English:Mail-outs
Aug09: letter to Slovenian Associations of Greater Melbourne to provide members Tour and book detailsSept09: emails to members, Slovenian community and Australian public.
Digitalized Publication in Sept. 09“Our Little Library”/“Na
š
a mala knji
ž
nica” Educational Workbook translation
and downloadable in
 
http://www.scribd.com/thezaurus
 
Classroom activities for four books of the series were translated into English from Slovenian by A. L. CeferinWorkbooks were produced in pdf (with a jpg book cover image), downloadable, each 3 pages:http://www.scribd.com/doc/20204940/ForgetMeNots-Workbook-I-Rabbit-Emil http://www.scribd.com/doc/20205438/ForgetMeNots-Workbook-II-In-the-Land-of-Gingerbread http://www.scribd.com/doc/20296181/ForgetMeNots-Workbook-III-Spots http://www.scribd.com/doc/21576703/ForgetMeNots-Workbook-IV-Giant-Hen 
 
 Significance of cultural and bilateral initiatives
The reading tour of the five writers of children’s stories was a great initiative. It was demonstrated in practice just how much can be achieved through bilateral cultural actions. It follows the very successful 2001 readingtour in Melbourne, with sessions at Monash University, RMIT, Victorian Writers’ Centre and Baraga House. For many participants it was the first time they heard anything about Slovenian literature or indeed anything aboutSlovenia.The bilingual books were very well received by people who love books, greatly impressed for their aestheticappearance and pedagogic content - both among Slovenes and Australians. The problem was only that thebilingual concept, highest quality production and beautifully rich illustrations made the books “expensive” in thecompetitive book market.This year a Slovenian film by Vlado
Š
kafar, “Otroci”, producer Petra Vidmar, was included in Melbourne’sInternational Film Festival. It cannot be emphasized enough, how very essential are such initiatives, and howimportant it is that they are promoted and publicized when they do occur.
In Conclusion - Practical Possibilities for the Future
We made a great beginning by the contact with the State Library of Victoria, the main reference library of Victoria, which advertises, facilitates and promotes programs. The State Library was particularly interested inSlovenian literature in its “first year of a multicultural program”.There is ample opportunity for lectures, performances, films, puppet productions, innovative digitalpresentations. The dramas of Evald Flisar have been performed on all continents (except the fifth), with greatsuccess. Why not in Australian theatres? There is an opportunity for Slovenia to participate in The MelbourneInternational Festival. Czechs have appeared with their puppet theatre. Why not Slovenes?Tours such as this Reading Tour, demonstrate that there is always great potential to showcase a variety of Slovenian cultural events, which through considered project management, will have the greatest impact onAustralian audiences, not to mention the global audience on the Web, with technologies of web streaming tovideocasting.
ABOUT THE FORGET ME NOTS BOOK SERIES
The first bilingual series of story books (English/Slovenian) beautifully illustrated by awarding-winning writers,published from 2006 to 2009 in Slovenia by Sodobnost International and Vodnikova Publishing House. Theseries, initiated by writer and editor of the series Jana Bauer, was launched in Ljubljana in December 2006 atthe leading publishing house Mladinska Knjigarna, with the first "In the Land of Gingerbread" by Jana Bauer.The books have delighted many audiences in three USA reading tours since 2007; and in Australia in 2009.The books are already distinguished for the quality of the illustrations and the stories with two nominations, EmilRabbit, and The Giant Hen; and for two first prize awards in Slovenia. "Anton's Circus" was awarded the firstprize for the best illustrated children's book in Slovenia in 2008. "How Oscar became a Detective" was therecipient of the prestigious Desetnica Award in 2008 as the best children's book of the year. The works aretranslated by Erica Debeljak Johnson and details may be viewed onhttp://www.spomincice.si/ 
The books recommended for children:Age range 4 to 6
The Giant Hen,
 
Song for a Fairy, Anton's Circus
Age range 6 to 10
Emil Rabbit, Emil Rabbit's Holiday, In the Land of Gingerbread, How Oscar became a Detective, Louisa fromOuter Space, Spots becomes a World Champion, The Puppets from the Seventh Floor.

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