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Pogovor #24: Anna Woltz – “Maybe teenagers feel the need to have strong opinions exactly because they’re not sure about their opinions.”

V tem tednu je na povabilo založbe Miš na obisku nizozemska avtorica Anna Woltz, ki pa v Sloveniji ni prvič. V slovenščini imamo prevedenih že šest njenih knjig, zadnja med njimi je izšla letos in nosi naslov Predor. Skupaj je napisala že 26 knjig. Knjiga Mavec je bila okronana z nagrado zlato pisalo, Aljaska pa je dobila nagrado srebrno pisalo. Filmsko priredbo knjige Nenavaden teden s Tesso so predvajali v kinodvoranah po vsem svetu, njene knjige pa so prevedene v 24 jezikov. V slovenščini poleg že omenjenih lahko beremo še Dekle z Marsa in Zobje morskega psa.

Če vam na kakšnega izmed pogovorov v tem tednu ne bo uspelo iti, vas vabim, da si preberete spodnji pogovor z avtorico.


Prvi obisk Slovenije pred osmimi leti mi je bil zelo všeč in v čast mi je, da sem ponovno povabljena na festival. Na svojem prvem obisku sem uživala v vsem: presenetilo me je navdušenje mojih bralcev; v eni izmed knjižnic so celo gledališko poustvarili odlomek iz knjige Nenavaden teden s Tesso, učenci so na vseh dogodkih postavljala krasna vprašanja in resnično sem bila navdušena nad tem, s kakšno resnostjo so v Sloveniji obravnavane otroške knjige. Uživala sem tudi na popoldanskem raziskovanju Ljubljane, videla pa sem tudi nekaj podeželja. Zelo se že veselim ponovnega obiska! 

I loved my first visit to Slovenia, eight years ago, and it’s such an honour to be invited to the festival once again! I enjoyed everything on my first visit: I was blown away by the enthusiasm of my readers; in one library, kids re-enacted scenes from my book Mijn bijzonder rare week met Tess, during all events students had amazing questions and I was impressed by how seriously children’s books are being taken in Slovenia. I also enjoyed exploring Ljubljana one afternoon, and seeing a bit of the countryside. So I’m very much looking forward to my second visit!

Moje knjige so prevedene že v 28 jezikov in res je užitek poslušati bralce po vsem svetu. Hkrati pa je  tudi zelo nenavaden občutek: vedeti, da zgodbe, ki si ji zamislim za mizo na Nizozemskem, bere tako veliko otrok … Seveda sama vem, da so teme, kot so zaljubljenost, prijateljstvo in pomen družine, univerzalne, vendar reakcije mojih bralcev to potrdijo. Meni se to zdi res čudovito. Srečati bralce iz drugih držav je zame res dodana vrednost: zanimivo je slišati njihova mnenja o knjigah, se z njimi pogovarjati o njihovih pogledih na literarne like in zaplete v zgodbi.

My books are being translated into 28 languages now, and it’s such a joy to hear from readers all over the world. It’s also quite a surreal feeling: to know that the stories I imagine here at my desk in The Netherlands, are being read by so many kids … Of course I know that themes like falling in loving and friendship and what it means to be a family are universal, but the reactions of my readers confirm that for me, and I think that’s beautiful. Meeting my foreign readers abroad is such a bonus for me: it’s so interesting to hear their opinions on my books, and to talk to them about their views on characters and plot lines.

Ko začnem s pisanjem nove zgodbe, nikoli ne razmišljam: želim si pisati o družinskih odnosih – to se zgodi kar samo. Družina je res zelo, zelo pomembna za odraščajoče otroke … Fascinira me dejstvo, da si otroci staršev ne izberejo, morajo pa se z njimi vseeno ukvarjati. In še več: otroci si ne izberejo, ali bodo bogati ali revni, ali imajo enega starša ali dva, ali imajo brate in sestre, ali se morajo preseliti – soočeni so z veliko zelo pomembnimi stvarmi. Najbolj neverjetno je, da se večina otrok s tem zlahka spopade. Živijo svoje življenje in iz tega izvlečejo najboljše.

Ni mi težko dobiti inspiracije za različne družinske upodobitve: cel svet je poln družin. Odrasla sem v »tradicionalni« družini, z mamo, očetom in sestro, ampak sem samska mama šest let staremu otroku – torej nekaj idej za pisanje najdem kar blizu doma …

When I start a new story, I never think: I want to write about family relationships – it just happens. Family is just so, so important for kids growing up … I’m fascinated by the fact that kids don’t choose their parents, but they have to deal with them anyway. And it’s even bigger: kids don’t get to choose whether they’re rich or poor, whether they have two parents or one, whether they have siblings, whether they have to move house – so many huge things they just have to deal with. And the amazing thing is: most kids do. They deal with their lives and make the best of it.

For me, it’s not difficult to get inspiration for different family portraits: the whole entire world is full of families. I grew up in a “traditional” family with a mom and a dad and a sister, but I’m a single mom of a six-year-old – so some of my inspiration I find very close to home …

Na Univerzi Leyden sem študirala zgodovino, zato vsake toliko časa napišem zgodovinski roman (druge sem napisala že kar nekaj časa nazaj in niso prevedeni). Za Predor sem porabila ogromno časa za raziskovanje: prebrala sem veliko knjig, obiskala sem Imperial War Museum in London Transport Museum in preučevala stare fotografije. Odločila sem se pisati o pravih najstnikih, zato sem se manj osredotočala na starše. Mislim, da za najstnike starši postanejo manj pomembni in so njihovi sovrstniki na prvem mestu. Mislila sem, da bi se bilo zanimivo osredotočiti na tesno povezano skupino najstnikov.

I actually studied History at Leyden University, so every once in a while, I write a historical novel (the others I wrote quite a long time ago; they haven’t been translated.) I did a vast amount of research for The Tunnel: I read many books, I visited the Imperial War Museum and the London Transport Museum, I studied old photos. For this story, I choose to write about proper teenagers, so that’s why I focus less on the parents. I think that for teenagers, parents do get less important, and their peers are everything. So I thought it would be interesting to really focus on this close-knit group of teenagers.

Foto: Gašper Stražišar

Upam, da ja! Čeprav nisem čisto prepričana, nekateri najstniki znajo biti v svojih idejah zelo neomajni. Ugotoviti skušajo, kdo so in iščejo skupino ljudi, ki bi jim pripadali. Sama se zdaj počutim precej svobodnejše in z manj predsodki, kot pa ko sem bila mlada. Mogoče se najstnikom zdi, da potrebujejo tako trdna mnenja o določenih stvareh, ker niso povsem prepričani vanje. Lahko je strašljivo čakati in oklevati, za spremembo mnenja pa je potreben pogum …

I hope it is! But I’m actually not entirely sure; some teenagers can actually be quite fixed in their ideas. They are trying to figure out who they are, and they are searching for a group to belong to. I actually feel much freer and less prejudiced right now, than I felt when I was young. Maybe teenagers feel the need to have strong opinions exactly because they’re not sure about their opinions. It can be scary to wait and hesitate, and it takes courage to change one’s opinions …

Ja, bilo zelo težko! Na prvi strani svojim bralcem povem, kaj se bo zgodilo, in ko sem bila približno na polovici napisane zgodbe, sem si mislila: kaj pa, če izbrišem tisto prvo stran in vsi bodo preživeli … Ampak nisem spremenila prve strani, in tako eden izmed glavnih likov umre. To je moja edina knjiga, kjer se zgodi kaj takega, vendar sem čutila, da je za to zgodbo to nujno. Ogromno ljudi je umrlo v 2. svetovni vojni – zakaj bi vsi moji liki preživeli? Življenje ni takšno. Včasih ljudje, ki bi jih najbolj pogrešali, umrejo …

Yes, it was so difficult! One the very first page, I tell my readers it will happen, and when I was halfway writing to book, I thought: if I just delete that first page, they can all live … But I didn’t change the first page, and one of the main characters does die. It’s my only book in which something like that happens, but I felt it was necessary in this book. So many people died in this war – why would all my characters survive? That’s not what life is like. Sometimes the people who we will miss most, die …

Moj oče je bil v času 2. svetovne vojne otrok (ja, moj oče je zelo star!). Ko sem bila otrok, je nama s sestro med kosilom pripovedoval zgodbe o vojni. Nekega dne nama je povedal, da se je leta 1943 njegova starejša sestra poročila – bila sem presenečena: poročila se je kar sredi vojne! Takrat sem šele razumela: življenje je teklo naprej tudi med vojno. Seveda je bilo težko, grozljivo in strašno, a kljub temu so se ljudje zaljubljali, imeli otroke, umrli od starosti in spoznali nove prijatelje.

My father was actually a child during the Second World War (yes, I have a very old dad!), so when I was a kid, at dinner time, he would tell my sister and me stories about the war. And then one day, he told us that in 1943, his older sister got married – and I was so surprised: she got married, right in the middle of the war! That was when I realized: life did go on during the war. It was hard and horrendous and scary, but at the same time, people did fall in love, they had babies, they died from old age, they made new friends.

Želim si, da bi vsi imeli kakšno Quinn v svojih življenjih! Zagotovo si želim, da bi bilo več deklet takih,  kot je ona: neustrašnih, samostojnih, prijaznih, osvobojenih … Kar pa se tiče Elline bolezni: nisem si želela pisati sam o vojni. Seveda vojna na moje like zelo vpliva, vendar na neki način Ellina bolezen nanjo vpliva še bolj. Gre predvsem za zgodbo o tem, da Ella odkrije svoj glas v svetu – in Quinn je tista, ki ji pri tem pomaga.

I wish we all had a Quinn in our lives! And I definitely wish even more girls were like Quinn: fierce, independent, kind, liberating … As for Ella’s illness: I didn’t just want to write about the war. The war affects my characters hugely of course, but in a way, Ella’s illness and her limp affect her even more. The story is very much a story about Ella finding her own voice – and it’s Quinn who helps her doing that.

Bojim se, da je na Nizozemskem še slabše; najstniki namreč dosegajo zelo slabe rezultate na PISI (Program mednarodne primerjave dosežkov učencev in učenk) in vsako leto se slabše izkažejo. Nekje pri dvanajstih letih večina otrok preneha brati in ves svoj prosti čas namenijo družabnim omrežjem, YouTubu in igram. Glede tega sem resnično zaskrbljena, ker sem prepričana, da ljudje potrebujemo besede, da lahko razmišljamo in romani nam pri tem pomagajo razširiti obzorja. Vendar se trudim, da me to ne potre preveč in samo nadaljujem s pisanjem najčudovitejših knjig, kar jih lahko napišem.

I’m afraid it’s even worse in The Netherlands; Dutch teenagers are scoring shockingly bad at PISA tests (international literacy tests), and they’re doing worse every year. At about 12, most kids just stop reading, and they spend all their free time on social media, YouTube and games. I’m actually extremely worried about this, because I’m convinced people need words to be able to think, and novels can broaden their horizon in such an essential way. But I try not to let this get me down, and just go on writing the most beautiful books I can possibly write.

Zame je bila zelo velika odločitev, da bo eden izmed likov umrl. Mislila sem si: to naredim lahko le tako, da dam bralcem vsaj en zelo srečen konec – želela sem si, da bralci to imajo, da se tako odkupim za to, da je ena oseba umrla. Je pa tudi res: nekateri ljudje so v vojni umrli, drugi so se zaljubili.

Na Nizozemskem je bil roman zelo lepo sprejet – in tudi kasneje v Nemčiji, Italiji in na Švedskem. Na Nizozemskem je prejel pomembno literarno nagrado, prav tako v Nemčiji: Gustav Heinemann Peace Prize, ki nagrajuje knjigo, ki najstnike spodbuja k razmišljanju o strpnosti in demokraciji.

To me, it was a huge decision to have one of my characters die. I thought: I can only do this if I give my readers at least one very, very happy ending – I just wanted them to have that, to make up for the person dying. And it’s also true: some people died during the war, but other people fell in love.

The novel was received wonderfully in The Netherlands – and later on also in Germany, Italy and Sweden. It won an important literary award in The Netherlands, and it won an amazing award in Germany: the Gustav Heinemann Peace Prize, honoring a book that stimulates teenagers to think about tolerance and democracy.

Za dve luni hoda (Sharon Creech), Prevzetnost in pristranost (Jane Austen) in moja najljubša nizozemska otroška knjiga: Lučka (Annet Schaap).

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and my favourite Dutch children’s book: Lampje by Annet Schaap.

Sharon Creech:
Za dve luni hoda
Jane Austen: Prevzetnost in pristranost
Annet Schaap: Lučka

Pogovor je nastal v sodelovanju z založbo Miš, za kar se jim kar najlepše zahvaljujem. Roman lahko najdete na povezavi Predor.

Knjižno delo je izšlo v okviru knjižnega programa, ki ga sofinancira Javna agencija za knjigo Republike Slovenije.

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