The Slovenia Times

Veronika Simoniti wins Kresnik Prize for novel Ivana Before the Sea


"The harsh evil which one can sometimes not escape reads smoothly in Veronika Simoniti's carefully selected language...," the five-strong jury said.

"The storyteller's grandmother Ivana realises what kind of a mirror a calm lake can be to people, she feels the love rush of a river and longs for the Adriatic. She goes towards the sea, but never reaches it. As the title suggests, she always remains before it," the jury also said.

The novel was inspired by the old-fashioned character of a photo and the smell of an old sofa, said Simoniti, adding she had played with memory and forgetfulness.

She said as part of Tuesday's awards ceremony atop Rožnik hill in Ljubljana that for her, "memory is something without which we don't exist, it's our identity".

Simoniti, 52, was shortlisted for the Kresnik once before, in 2015, for Kameno Seme (The Seed of Stone). This year's winning novel was published by Cankarjeva Založba.

The writer has joined another thee women novelists who have received the Kresink since it was launched in 1990: last year's laureate Bronja Žakelj, Katarina Marinčič (2002) and late Berta Bojetu (1996).

Looking back at the award's 30 years, its "father", author Vlado Žabot said he was happy that the idea and the award had survived for three decades.

"They have served as an effective encouragement and promotion of Slovenian literary and spiritual creativity in the form of novel. We definitely need this."

To mark the anniversary, Delo also gave out the Kresnik for best Kersnik-awarded novel between 2010 and 2019, which went to Drago Jančar's To Noč Sem Jo Videl (I Saw Her That Night; 2010). Jančar is also the only author to have won four Kresniks, this one being the fifth.

Also in the running for the prize together with Simoniti were Sebastijan Pregelj with V Elvisovi Sobi (In Elvis's Room), Suzana Tratnik with Norhavs na Vrhu Hriba (Madhouse on a Hilltop), Branko Cestnik with Sonce Petovione (The Sun of Poetovium) and Jirži Kočica with Izvirnik (Original).

In Elvis's Room, a story about a generation growing up in the 1980s and 1990s as Yugoslavia was slowly disintegrating, won the Cankar Prize, a newly-introduced literary award, two days ago.


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