This year, at the International conference at Bled, Slovene PEN centre is paying special respect to the memory of the Great War. School children from Slovenia and Slovene schools from diaspora were invited to contribute their thoughts about war and peace. The aim of the friendly competition was to bring the subject of the Great War as well as the topics of peace and war in general to schools. Twenty young writers sent poems and forty sent short prose texts on the given subject. The three winners are to be invited to spend a day at the PEN conference at Bled, where they will be able to meet writers from different parts of the world and get the prize for their writing achievements.
The committee, Barbara Simoniti, Marko Kravos and Ifigenija Simonović read all pieces carefully. The decisive quality the committee was looking for in the competing texts was author's personal engagements and their capability of expressing one's own point of view. The competition, this time carried out for the first time, proved unexpectedly precious from two points of view: In many cases it made children turn to grandparents, asking them for first hand information on the subject of The Great War. This taught them to ask before jugging. On the other hand the competition showed the strength and importance of teachers' guidance. It mirrored the state of children's freedom of expression and thinking.
It has been decided, that the the competitors are divided into three groups according to the class they attend: class 4 and 5, class 6 and 7, class 8 and 9. Three contributors were chosen:
Bor Pražnikar, 4b, Primary School of France Rozman Stane, Ljubljana;
Nejc Gvozden, 7a, Primary School Dobropolje, Videm;
Nina Katarina Štular, 9.č, Primary School of Simon Jenko, Kranj.
The English translations of their contributions can be read here.
Barbara Simoniti, Marko Kravos and Ifigenija Simonović
The Award Ceremony for the winners of the Faces
of Peace – Farewell to Arms Competition