Best youth and children’s book prize goes to Sebastijan Pregelj

Maribor – Sebastijan Pregelj is the winner of this year’s Večernica prize for the best youth and children’s book written in the past year. He won the award given out by the Maribor-based newspaper Večer for his book Vrnitev (Return), Večer reported online.

Pregelj will accept the award worth EUR 3,000 at a literary festival in the city of Murska Sobota on 19 September.

Return is the sixth book from a series of stories on life in the late Stone Age in the Ljubljana marshes, which the jury said was the peak of the series.

The author bases his narrative, whose main protagonists are Brin and Črna, on archaeological findings but intertwines this with fiction in parts that describe people’s everyday lives.

Pregelj told Večer in an interview published online that this was not the end of the series. “The seventh, last part of the series will be out in autumn,” he said.

Asked about his inspiration for the series, he said he wanted to write something that would be interesting enough to attract boys, who read a little less, and would also be at least a little bit educational.

“Since I like to include less known facts about the past in books for adults as well I got the idea to write a story about people who lived where we are living now more than five thousand years ago.”

There is only one other major piece dealing with the life in the prehistoric pile-dwellings in the wetlands south of Ljubljana, Bobri (Beavers) by Janez Jalen, and the topic is also not covered extensively at schools, he said, noting that the pile-dwelling are on the UNESCO World Heritage List

The award has been conferred since 1997. Originally, the publisher Franc-Franc and the magazine Otrok and Knjiga (Cild and Book) conferred it, but later Večer took over.

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