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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Interview with Karolina Kolmanič, Slovenian Author

It is very inspiring to read how and why writers began to write and how they developed and maintained their passion. Their circumstances may differ, and they may have had different experiences, but there are always a few things that seem to appear with some consistency. They include formative experiences in childhood, a fascination with nature, and a persistent need to observe and explain the world.

Welcome to an interview with Karolina Kolmanič, a Slovenian writer whose work spans several decades, and who has won many awards and inspired numerous writers to explore the human condition.

1.  What is your name and your relation to writing. What is your background? (where born? where did you go do school?  what were your favorite things to study?)
   My name is Karolina Hari, and my married surname is Kolmanič. I was born in an idyllic rural place, my birth house sits amid fields and meadows - a world of freedom without fences and boundaries.

Karolina Kolmanič, Slovenian author
2.  When did you start to write and why?
I went to elementary, middle and high school in G. Radgona. I graduated from the Teachers’ College in Maribor and then from the Higher School of Education in Ljubljana. My favorite subjects were Slovene and Foreign Languages. In addition to German, I also learned Russian in school and Hungarian passively (from my mother).

My father, 25 years my mother’s senior, traveled a great deal and read a lot of newspapers, which helped me get into the habit of reading. In school, I already had the children’s paper Lučka in naš rod. We would all read. Thus, I was from an early age tempted by reading and writing. I was inspired and encouraged more seriously at the age of fifteen by my professor of Slovene, in my fourth year of high school. I am interested in the social sciences, less so in the natural sciences.

Karolina Kolmanič, Slovenian author
3.  What was your first book?  How did the first book impact you?  what made you want to continue to write?
My first book was selected [izbrana] at a 1968 Yugoslav festival and then immediately published and is called Sonce ne išče samotnih poti (The sun avoids dark roads). I translated it and it was published in the German magazine Europapublikation in 1978. Srečno, srebrna ptica (The silver bird, rejoicing) was also a success because I actually for the first time saw white parachutes gliding through the air like butterflies from beneath the plummeting, damaged plane (in Graz). In writing the book, I allowed myself some literary and artistic liberties.

5.  What were some of the formative experiences that shaped the subjects you write about? How did they tie to the plots of some of your work?
 My works enjoy a positive reception. Particularly well known is the novel Marta (circulation 5,000). The story centers on the problems of an expatriate working at a Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg. I was allowed to be an honoured guest there, so I was able to observe this worker in her work.

6.  What are you writing these days? 
 I write short works of prose for various magazines at home, in Germany, Austria, the Hungarian Porabje and [the Italian] RAI.    My latest book came out on 12/5/2015 with the title Lahko noč, ljubezen moja (Good night, my love).

7.  How has history shaped your view of the world?  What do you predict for the future?  
The notion of a sunny future for humanity is an illusion. Human cruelty through conflict is         timeless and has encompasses religions and all of history as well. The world is happy        when it invents a something for killing - science is not a successful weapon for the destruction of people, animals and nature. Once a person’s feelings, soul and heart die, a demon awakens inside. And where are you, man, to enrich yourself with boldness? Hope remains optimistic; melancholy and reality might be overcome by reason, love and light.

Karolina Kolmanič at a party for her 85th birthday.   


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