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Press Release


Cankar in a comic strip


“Read Cankar, as he is always relevant.”
Boris Pahor


With these words the only living Slovene writer who lived in Cankar’s period, 104-year old Boris Pahor, commented on the Cankar in a Comic Strip project – the biggest publishing project of 2018, celebrating the year of Ivan Cankar. Cankar is the greatest Slovene writer in history, and the 100th anniversary of his death is an opportunity to try to bring his work closer to today’s readers, especially young people, in a modern, communicative and dynamic way.

Just like Boris Pahor, the creators of the Cankar in a Comic Strip project are also convinced that although the writer’s works are surprisingly relevant and inspiring today, he does not enjoy an appropriate place in the nation’s identity.

Cankar in a Comic Book was developed with cooperation among several experts, authors and institutions, and is the outcome of intense research into Cankar’s heritage and an example of teamwork between writers and illustrators. This resulted in bold and relevant interpretations of three of Cankar’s works, which act as a strong and integral whole. These books will not leave readers indifferent, and they will also be of great assistance to teachers in bringing Cankar’s literature closer to young readers, and contemporising its interpretation.

The books in the Cankar in a Comic Book collection were created by the following top authors and illustrators:

• Andrej Rozman Roza and Damijan Stepančič dissected Cankar’s drama Hlapci (The Serfs) and created a comic strip: Hlapci – ko angeli omagajo.
• Boštjan Gorenc Pižama and Tanja Komadina examined Cankar’s cycle of sketches Moje življenje (My Life) and created Moj lajf.
• Žiga X Gombač and Igor Šinkovec worked with Cankar’s short story Hlapec Jernej in njegova pravica (The Bailiff Yerney and his Right) and created the comic strip fable Hlapec Jernej in pasja pravica.

Why interpret a classic work in a comic strip? Because comic strips are a medium that allows for plenty of freedom in placing a particular work in broader contexts: historical, cultural and political. There is an extra benefit in that comic strips are also considered a subversive form, as were Cankar’s works more than a hundred years ago. The communicativeness, relevance and integration between words and images that comics can attract people to read and reflect on Cankar’s strong messages.

Cankar in a Comic Strip is not “merely” a book project, but also a real campaign for the promotion of reading and an attempt to re-contemporize the exceptional literary heritage of a great writer.

The books from the Cankar in a Comic Strip collection have become bestsellers since their publication, and are accompanied by the Cankar Strip theatre performance, exhibitions of the illustrators’ works, pedagogical programmes in schools (held by the Slovenian Theatre Institute) and a literary contest. The Puppet Theatre Maribor is also developing a show based on the volume Moj lajf.

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