Author Semenič wins Blue Bird prize for youth novel


The highest prize money award for a single literary work in the country is conferred by publisher Mladinska Knjiga biennially for designated genres. This year's contest attracted more than 40 manuscripts by mostly female authors.

"A masterfully written, suspenseful and multi-layered story addressing preteens is strongly rooted in today, but it skilfully roams the mythological as well.

"With extremely vibrant characters, the intriguing writer's perspective, humour, literary references galore and linguistic succulence and sonority, this is a true literary treat showing promise to become one of the key works in contemporary youth literature," the judging panel praised the novel.

Semenič's youth novel debut tells the story of a group of friends and their adventures including dragons and secret maps.

The playwright started writing the novel after the birth of her second son as a promise to her first-born so as to not make him feel overlooked. She found the creative process to be similar to writing a play.

Bojan Švigelj, the editor-in-chief at Mladinska Knjiga, said that the Slovenian biggest publisher was successful at attracting established as well as up-and-coming authors and popularising their work with the Blue Bird Prize.

Both previous youth novel winners – Miha Mazzini's "Zvezde vabijo" (Stars Beckon) and Vinko Möderndorfer's "Kot v filmu" (Like in a Movie) – went on to achieve great things, winning other awards and selling well.