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World Book Night 2019

On 25th April, students from different schools around Ljubljana joined us for our annual event to mark World Book Night. As we have done for several years now, a special presentation with a number of different aspects was prepared to allow us to join in with this international celebration of books and reading. Although the event itself is celebrated globally on 23rd April, our own event is part of a wider range of projects, classes, and events through the week of the bigger occasion.

Our main focus for the projects of this school year was the “William” stories of Richmal Crompton. This is because 2019 marks 100 years since the character first appeared in print. Although it would be another few years until a full collection of tales featuring William Brown was made available to the public, 1919 saw him appear for the first time in a short story published in a popular magazine of the time.

An iconic childhood character who has featured in a range of different stories since, looking at the earliest ones in particular allowed for a variety of discussions about how family and social life has changed in the century that has passed. In addition, some students took the opportunity to combine the social history aspect with a perspective more aligned with the study of English and decided to focus on the slang of the time. With so many different stories and a range of different characters, there was something to cover a wealth of interests.

The work of Richmal Crompton also provided the inspiration for this year’s micro-story competition organised by the Gimnazija Vič Book Club. For this, young writers in the schools involved had the chance to use one of the chapter headings of the “Just William” collection as the inspiration for their own original short story. As with all micro-stories in the competitions we have organised over the years, there was the additional requirement that stories could be no more than 100 words in length. This adds the challenge of precision of language to the regular demands of writing regarding characters and storylines.

We are happy to say that this year’s competition was one of the most successful ever in terms of the number contributions presented to be considered by the judges. Across the different primary and secondary school levels, hundreds of young writers put their work forward to be read and enjoyed by the wider audience. The ones that really stood out for the judging panel were shortlisted and published in a special booklet that was available to the audience on the day and for those whose work ended up included in the publication. In addition, a smaller number of both primary and secondary level students were awarded prizes for the pieces marked as worthy of a special mention by the judges.

As well as the prize-giving ceremony for the year’s creative competition, the World Book Night event showcased some of many talents that students of Gimnazija Vič have in terms of different types of performance. Readings, sketches, dramatic monologues, and musical performances were all enjoyed and appreciated as we looked at a number of different things marked in 2019. Anniversaries such as those for the publication of George Orwell’s “1984” and Maya Angelou’s “I know why the caged bird sings”, the special designation of 2019 as the UN’s Year of Indigenous Language and the Year of the Period Table, and a wide range of other things to celebrate and commemorate all had their place in the presentation.

The projects connected to our World Book Night celebrations are just a small part of what the school’s book club arranges through the year as part of the English department. We share the idea that reading is something that should be part of our lives as something to enjoy and having such an occasion full of appreciation for literary culture is a vital part of that. With this in mind, the spirit of cooperation between our different schools is incredibly important as it gives those of us in different educational institutions the chance to share ideas, opinions, and hopes about this area of work and enjoyment.

The mentors of the Gimnazija Vič Book Club, Blanka Klobučar and Tim Gallagher would like to thank those who travelled from other schools to be with us for this event and who worked with us on the range of creativity through this school year. Many thanks to the pupils, teachers, and project mentors from:

  • OŠ Bičevje
  • OŠ Brezovica pri Ljubljani
  • OŠ Dobrova
  • OŠ Kolezija
  • OŠ Škofljica
  • OŠ Šmartno pod Šmarno goro

It must also be said that such an event could not have taken place without the effort and enthusiasm of all those who had a part to play in the broad range of projects and performances. We have to thank the writers, editors, and judges who worked on the short story competition for giving us the possibility to produce another great publication. In addition, we would like to extend our thanks to the readers, actors, musicians, members of the school choir, presenters, and artists who all made a special contribution and led to it being such a great occasion.

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