Slovenian Australian Reading Tour 2009 – Report


14 – 25 September 2009

  First tour to promote contemporary children’s literature of Slovenia in fostering international educational and intercultural dialogue

Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria Inc.

REPORT – 27 October 2009

Purpose: Promotion of the new first bilingual (Slovenian/English) Forget-Me-Nots (Spominčice) children’s book series with five writers from Slovenia, ten books published from 2006 to 2009. The authors are successful and popular writers of contemporary children’s literature. The books are entertaining, and educational. Four books of 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 2009 workbooks 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 in Australia in 2007. This was accepted, in order that the landmark Slovenian children’s book series would reach the Australian public. In December 2008 E. Flisar requested ISSV to invite writers from Slovenia and organize a Reading Tour in 2009. ISSV also proposed a project for series of Slovenian cultural evenings (“kulturni večeri”) where films and a reading program by Slovenian writers would engage Australian audiences. In late June 2009 was funding approved by the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia for the writers to participate in an Australian Reading Tour. Although no funding was offered for ISSV to organize or promote, it agreed to organize 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. The Victorian 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 about Slovenia 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 and puppet performance. The Library also offered to involve schools subject to a more detailed program. The Library showed great interest in supporting public reading events, particularly for family, youth and adults, as can be viewed on the web site and was keen to include a multicultural presence.


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Aleksandra Ceferin

Aleksandra Ceferin (M.A., B.A., Dip.Ed.) has introduced Slovenian language as a school subject in Australian school system and founded the Slovenian Teachers' Association of Victoria in 1976. She has extensive experience in language education: as teacher, lecturer, curriculum coordinator, course writer, language consultant and manager, VCE State Reviewer and Chief Examiner. Since 1998 she has been the President of ISSV and the manager and chief editor of its projects. Aleksandra visits Slovenian annually, establishing and maintaining contacts with Slovenia, and initiating exchanges and cooperation between organizations. In 2004 she was the recipient of the National Education Award of RS Slovenia.