Literature shorts

Slovak author wins short story contest

SLOVAK author Mojmír Groll won the 2006 International "Aleko Konstantinov" Short Story Competition with his short story Priateľsky podaná ruka [Hand offered in friendship]. The competition is organized by Starshel (Hornet), a Bulgarian humour and satire weekly.

Bojan Biolcev, a literary scientist and rector of the St. Kliment Ochridsky University in Sofia, led the jury that chose Groll out of 88 writers from 19 countries.

The competition was founded in 1963 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Aleko Konstantinov (1863-1897), a Bulgarian writer best known for his character Bai Ganio, one of the most popular characters in Bulgarian fiction.

First encyclopaedia on Slovakia in 30 years

Matica Slovenská chairman Jozef Markuš attended the presentation of the first encyclopaedia on Slovakia in thirty years.
photo: SITA

THE OTTOVO nakladateľstvo publishing house has begun priting Encyclopédia Slovensko A-Ž, the first original encyclopedia about Slovakia printed since 1989. The book contains 10,000 entries, 4,000 illustrations, dozens of maps and many other factographic information. As well as an evaluation of historical events, it also offers a complete description of all Slovak villages, and information about the most prominent Slovak personalities - qualities that were thus far only available in specialized texts.

Representatives from the publishing house told the TASR news wire that this is the first one-volume encyclopaedia exclusively on Slovakia published during the last 30 years.

Adam Bžoch wins translation award

SLOVAK TRANSLATOR Adam Bžoch has been awarded the Translator's Prize 2006 by the Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature (NLPVF) for promoting Dutch literature abroad.

According to Dutch Ambassador Rob Swartbol, Bžoch fully deserves the title of ambassador of Dutch literature in Slovakia.

Since 1993, Bžoch has built up an impressive list of translations of works by some of the most famous Dutch writers, including Anne Frank.

Easy Bratislava for foreigners

THREE foreigners living in Bratislava - Guillaume Benoit, Marie-Helene Côté and Catherine Renan - have released an updated and extended version of their English Easy Bratislava, a guide for foreigners on short or long-term stays in Bratislava. The Ikar publishing house printed two editions, Easy Bratislava in English and Bratislava Facile in French, in November 2006.

The book offers pages of useful information on banks, insurance companies, accommodation, restaurants, vets and all forms of transport. Readers can even find advice on how to rent a flat, where to look for car rentals, cosmetics saloons or schools and kindergartens, where English or French is spoken. It also contains some information about Bratislava's surroundings and Vienna. Maps and a dictionary also make up part of the book.

Slovak American publishes book of poetry

ON DECEMBER 14, a book of poetry by American writer Allan Stevo entitled Somewhere between Bratislava and DC was released at the Info USA Centre in the University Library in Bratislava.

Somewhere between Bratislava and DC is a collection of poems about life for Allan Stevo in the US and Slovakia, lessons learned from his students, and some reflections on religion. The poems are connected by a common theme described in the title. It deals with a love that spans the Atlantic and love for two cultures, whih leaves the author torn.

The author is a Slovak-American who came to Bratislava to more fully understand his Slovak heritage. "Once here," said the author, "poems emerged from my writing; I put them together in a collection and shared them with a few friends." Positive feedback from friends and professionals convinced Mr. Stevo to publish the works of poetry.

The book contains 66 poems in both English and Slovak. Translations were performed by Martina Poláková.

Slovaks keep reading

Slovaks receive every sixth book they read as a present.
photo: TASR

A SURVEY of Slovaks' reading habits conducted on a sample of 1,500 respondents by the Literary Information Centre in Slovakia has found, contrary to perception, that the public is not reading less than it used to. The results were presented as part of the sociological survey of contemporary state and the level of reading in Slovakia, Čítanie 2006 (Reading 2006) on November 30, 2006, in Bratislava.

The survey focused on all types of texts and examined readers' motivation. It showed that 7.3 percent of respondents read fiction daily, 30 percent do not read fiction at all, 30 percent read specialized and technical literature relevant to their professions and that as much as 80 percent of the respondents read dailies.

The comparison of the results of the latest survey and the survey conducted by the same methodology four years ago shows that the number of daily readers of fiction shrank by 1.6 percent to 7.3 percent and that the portion of those who do not read fiction at all slipped by 4.7 percent to 29.9 percent. The changes in these groups firmed the group of occasional readers of fiction. The comparison also showed that fiction readers also read other types of texts. Among the regular fiction readers there are only 31 percent of those, who do not read specialized and technical literature at all. Readers from the group not reading fiction at all often reach for specialized and technical literature.

The survey confirmed a prevailing trend of superficial reading. "This is an unhealthy type of reading," Peter Valček, co-author of the report of the Literary Information Centre, told the Sme daily. He added that such a way of reading makes the person impressionable.

Sme daily launches e-library of Slovak

THE SME daily launched the most comprehensive free electronic library of Slovak literature on December 6. The new archive includes 131 of the most prominent works, with more titles soon to be added.

All around the world, books have been making the move from dusty shelves to the pages of the Internet. The aim is to make important works of world literature available to a higher number of people without the need to go to a library. This archive is the first project in Slovakia to contribute to that effort.

"These classic literary works are now much more available than ever before," said Valér Kot, the director of electronic publishing at the Petit Press publishing house. "You can read, download or print all the works in the archive, and, unlike a traditional library, you never have to return them. Everything, of course, is free of charge."

Two of the writers found at the archive's website,, are Andrej Sládkovič and Ján Kalinčiak. There are also a lot of well-known books, such as Krvavé Sonety (Bloody Sonnets) and other works by Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav; a collection of folk fairy tales by Pavol Dobšinský; Básne (Poems) by Ľudovít Štúr; works by Ján and Samo Chalupka; and Dom

v Stráni (House on the Hillside) by Martin Kukučín.

The archive is also part of cooperation with the Institute of Slovak Literature at the Slovak Academy of Sciences to gradually compile a thorough internet encyclopaedia of Slovak literature. The goal is to enable readers to find all necessary information about an author, including the full texts of their writings, photographs and period paintings, all in one place.

"We believe that Slovaks living abroad, people with eye problems, students and people interested in out-of-print works will appreciate our project," Kot said.

All the works are being digitalized in line with copyright law. If the author is not deceased, they or their heirs must give permission for their writing to be disseminated. The digital copies may be used for non-commercial purposes only.

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