Ranko Risojević, winner of the Little Prince Lifetime Achievement Award: Literature for children must be out of time

International Children’s Theater Festival in Subotica, 22-27. September

Ranko Risojević, winner of the Little Prince Lifetime Achievement Award: Literature for children must be out of time

 

Ranko Risojević (1943), a poet, novelist, dramatist, essayist, mathematics historian, translator and cultural activist, published about fifty books, of which eighteen poetry collections, twenty-five prosaic works with ten novels; around dozen of his radio plays for children were performed in Serbia and internationally, and most of them are translated on several languages. His well known novels for children are Boys from Una, that has been obligatory school literature in Bosnia and Herzegovina for years now, also translated to Macedonian, then Three Boys from Zrikovia and Ivan’s Opening. There are also his story collection Stories of the Big Summer, drama for children Christmas Story and Midgets and Bogeymen followed by poetry collection for children Masterpieces.

At the opening ceremony of this year’s International Festival of Children’s Theaters edition, which takes place from September 22 to 27 at several locations in Subotica, Risojević thanked the audience in a very specific way – by reciting his poem entitled „Poet“, with the following verses: „Arrived I have from the moon / to see what the children are doing / I came from ancient times / in the imagination of your son / I came in the autumn, too / into your beautiful daughter’s dream / I came from everywhere / like a jester / The world is sad, constantly moaning / maybe the kids will save it!

What motivates you to do creative work for children?

It’s hard to say. I am one of those writers who has gone through almost all genres. But, I rarely do it at the same time. It just comes to me when I want to write a book for children. In the 70s and 80s, these were radio games for children, because that’s when stereophony started. Then I completely understood what it meant and how it should be written for the radio and for the kids, to make it interesting to them. When I exhaust that, I print the piece or give it to the radio, and then I tackle something from a completely different genre. That’s my methodology.

How does your literature communicates with today’s children, who are growing in a technologically very different circumstances from those in which you grew up you or their parents’ generation?

It’s not simple, but these stories must be beyond the passage of time. Take for example the work „Ivan’s Opening“, for which I received the Politika Entertainer Award in 2000, which was the largest award for literature for children in Yugoslavia of that time. It’s the story of a blind boy, who overcomes the shock of becoming blind at age of 14, learning chess. It’s out of time. It will be actual in a hundred years, as it was 50 years ago.

How do you bring such difficult topics to young readers?

For example, I tell them the story of chess. At the same time, the whole story happens to be one chess game that the hero, in fact, plays in some underground of his blindness. This then preoccupies them.

On one occasion, you stated that literature should not serve for easy entertainment, but should serve to tell the truths of life through literary form. How do you apply this principle in the literature for children and young people?

I write for children, but at the same time it is adult literature, just in simpler form. I don’t want to burden children with form, but on the other hand it really has to be more direct and intriguing. As Ivo Andrić also pointed out – it must not be boring. Such literature, through one classic story, performs two functions: to entertain a child, but also to do even more in a pedagogical sense. It directs that child to some good things and principles upon which life stands. It is not just about rejoicing, so that children are just laughing. I am driven to despair by writers who, in a way, have ruined stream of Serbian poetry for children just by making them laugh. I think that’s very bad. They are far, far below Jovan Jovanović the Dragon.

Međunarodni festival pozorišta za decu u Subotici, 22-27. septembar

Ranko Risojević, dobitnik Nagrade za životno delo „Mali princ“: Literatura za decu mora biti izvan prolaznosti vremena

Ranko Risojević, pesnik, prozaista, dramski pisac, esejista, istoričar matematike, prevodilac i kulturni radnik, jedan je od ovogodišnjih dobitnika Nagrade za životno delo “Mali princ” koju dodeljuje Međunarodni festival pozorišta za decu u Subotici. Objavio je oko pedeset knjiga, od čega 18 pesničkih zbirki, i 25 proznih knjiga, među kojima 10 romana; izvedeno je desetak njegovih radio igara za decu, a većina je prevedena na više jezika i bila na repertoaru u zemlji i inostranstvu. Za decu je objavio romane „Dječaci sa Une“, koja je već godinama u lektiri u BiH, potom „Trojica iz Zrikovije“ i „Ivanovo otvaranje“, zbirku priča „Priče velikog ljeta“, dramske tekstove za decu „Božićna priča“ i „Patuljci i bauci“, te zbirku pesama za decu „Majstorije“.

Na otvaranju ovogodišnjeg izdanja Međunarodnog festivala pozorišta za decu, koje se održava od 22. do 27. septembra na nekoliko lokacija u Subotici, Risojević se zahvalio publici na veoma specifičan način – recitovanjem svoje pesme pod nazivom “Pjesnik”, sa sledećim stihovima: “Stigao sam sa Mjeseca
/ da vidim šta rade djeca / Stigao sam iz davnina / u maštanju tvoga sina / Stigao sam i s jeseni / u san tvoje lijepe kćeri / Stigao sam odasvuda / kao kakva dvorska luda / Svijet je tužan, stalno jeca / možda će ga spasit’ djeca!”

Šta vas motiviše da se bavite stvaralaštvom za decu?

Teško je reći. Ja sam od onih pisaca koji su prošli gotovo sve žanrove. Ali, rijetko to činim istovremeno. Jednostavno mi dođe period kada hoću da napišem knjigu za djecu. Sedamdesetih i osamdesetih, to su bile radio igre za djecu, jer je tada i počela stereofonija. Tada sam potpuno shvatio šta znači i kako treba pisati za radio i za djecu, da bi to njima bilo zanimljivo. Kada to iscrpim, štampam delo ili ga dam radiju, a onda se bavim nečim iz potpuno drugog žanra. To je moja metodologija rada.

Na koji način vaša literatura komunicira sa današnjom decom, koja stasavaju u tehnološki bitno drugačijim okolnostima od onih u kojima ste odrastali vi ili generacije njihovih roditelja?

To nije jednostavno, ali te priče moraju biti izvan prolaznosti vremena. Uzmite na primer delo „Ivanovo otvaranje“, za koje sam 2000. dobio nagradu Politikinog zabavnika, što je bila najveća nagrada za literaturu za djecu u ondašnjoj Jugoslaviji. To je priča o slepom dječaku, koji pobjeđuje šok kada je postao slijep u 14. godini, učeći šah. Ona je izvan vremena. Biće aktuelna i za sto godina, kao što je bila i pre 50.

Kako izneti tako teške teme pred mlade čitaoce?

Na primer, ja im ispričam priču o nastanku šaha. Istovremeno, cijela priča se dešava kao jedna partija šaha koju on, u stvari, igra u nekom podzemlju svoje slepoće. To ih onda zaokupi.

Jednom prilikom ste izjavili da književnost ne treba da služi za laku zabavu, već da služi tome da ispriča životne istine kroz literarnu formu. Na koji način taj princip primenjujete u literaturi za decu i mlade?

Ja pišem za djecu, ali istovremeno to je i literatura za odrasle, samo u jednostavnijoj formi. Neću da opteretim djecu formom, ali s druge strane ona zaista mora biti direktnija i intrigantnija. Kako je isticao još i Ivo Andrić – ona ne smije biti dosadna. Takva literatura kroz jednu klasičnu priču obavlja dvije funkcije: da zabavi dijete, ali i uradi još više u pedagoškom smislu. Ona usmjerava to dijete ka nekim boljim stvarima i principima, na kojima počiva život. Ne spušta se samo na uveseljavanje, da se djeca samo smeju. Mene do očaja tjeraju pisci koju su, na neki način, upropastili jedan tok srpske poezije za djecu samo ih nasmijavajući. Mislim da je to vrlo loše. Oni su daleko, daleko ispod Jovana Jovanovića Zmaja.