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French Journalists Curious about Lainšček’s Halgato

On 8 April, also known as International Romani Day, the French Phébus publishing house published Liza Japelj Carone’s French translation of Feri Lainšček’s novel Namesto koga roža cveti, titled Halgato. Before the book’s official launch, a French delegation of journalists along with Phébus representative Nathalie Baravian travelled to Slovenia to visit the enchanting region of Prekmurje, the main inspiration for Lainšček’s works.

A visit to Romani settlement Kamenci.

The short study visit (27 - 29 March 2017), attended by esteemed French journalists Anne Dastakian (Marianne magazine); Rémi Bostsarron (Radio Europe 1); Thierry Clermont (Le Figaro newspaper); and Jean-Baptiste François (La Croix newspaper), was organized by the Slovenian Book Agency (JAK), the Government Communication Office of the Republic of Slovenia (UKOM), and the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO).

After a short stop in Ljubljana, where they were treated to a screening of the movie Halgato (directed by Andrej Mlakar, 1994) at the Slovenian Cinematheque (Slovenska kinoteka), the French company set sails for Prekmurje, where they attended an exhibition of Lainšček’s opus at the Murska Sobota City Library and a presentation of Lainšček literary exploits hosted by Ignacija Fridl and Melita Forstnerič Hajnšek. The following stages of their study visit were Plečnik’s church in Bogojina, the Lendava Synagogue (where they were greeted by Slovenian writer Dušan Šarotar), the Vinarium Observation Tower, the Museum of Romani Culture, and the Romani settlements Pušča and Kamenci (the latter was used as the filming location for the movie Halgato). The programme also included a tasting of Slovenian national dishes and Romani culinary delights, animated discussions with the Romani here and the Gypsies there, and performances of original travellers’ music.

According to literary critic of Le Figaro littéraire and publicist Thierry Clermont, interest in smaller literatures is on the rise among the French public. He particularly mentioned Drago Jančar and Boris Pahor whose works have been very well received by the French readers. Halgato is the first of Feri Lainšček’s novels translated into French.

The visitors from France were impressed by the diversified landscape, the warm and hospitabl reception, and the cultural diversity and found it highly exciting to tread along the original paths and to meet the people that inspired the story of the book. Reactions to the study visit are summarized and featured at the following links:

Media coverage:

Radio Europe 1 (French)

http://www.europe1.fr/emissions/carnets-du-monde/carnets-du-monde-syrie-slovenie-3287732

La Croix (French)

http://www.la-croix.com/Monde/Europe/En-Slovenie-Roms-heureux-2017-04-07-1200837830

Večer (Slovene)

http://www.vecer.com/francoski-novinarji-pri-feriju-lainscku-6254184

and

http://www.vecer.com/za-francoskega-bralca-je-svet-lainsckovega-romana-zelo-eksoticen-6255534

TV Slovenija 1, Slovenska kronika (Slovene)

http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/slovenska-kronika/174462955 (starting at 8:14)