The Slovenia Times

Youth novel wins Mazzini major book prize


The judging panel of the Blue Bird Prize praised "Zvezde vabijo" (Stars beckon) as a "masterful, taut and at times very humorous piece of writing".

While delving into the traps of virtual reality, the book is also a "sensitive and unobtrusive" portrayal of "families whose everyday lives are far from being easy".

The judges expect the book will go down well with the teenagers as a contemporary novel that is in tune with the latest global trends in hugely popular fiction for young adults.

Conferred by Slovenia's leading publisher Mladinska knjiga to the winner of a competition in designated literary genre annually since 2013, the award comes with a prize money of EUR 12,000.

Each of the four nominees, selected among 31 entries this year, will also come out at Mladinska knjiga in the coming months, the winner as early as March.

The prize was presented at a ceremony in Konzorcij, Ljubljana's largest bookshop, on Wednesday.

Mazzini, the 54-year old writer of books, screenplays and columns who also works as a computer expert, told the event such competitions made good motivation for authors to finish their book on time.

He had mostly written the novel anew although he had used some pages from an older unpublished work of his.

His idea was to write a social novel that would reflect the realistic situation in Slovenia "not in the usual Slovenian way - so that things are always told three times".

Mazzini has a post-graduate degree in screenwriting from the University of Sheffield and is a regular member of the European Film Academy. He has obtained a doctorate in anthropology from Ljubljana Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis.

He has directed five short films and wrote the screenplay for Sweet Dreams, the 2001 feature film by Sašo Podgoršek, which he later upgraded into a novel.

His books have been translated into four languages, while he has also issued several computer manuals. He has also appeared as a guest lecturer on screenwriting at home and abroad.


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