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Issue 75 - February 2011

Saturday 26 February 2011 by Ina Doublekova

comiXculture: ending to begin

In mid-February, the last comics stories produced as part of our comiXculture II project were submitted to Next Page. Now we have more than 140 pages of original comics works, drawn in 12 versatile artistic styles, but all talking about contemporary experiences such as e/immigration, traveling, being the Other and trying to fit in. Some of the narratives develop over several episodes, others stand alone. Also, there are three stories based on literary texts: Andrej Blatnik’s (Slovenia) short story Separations is turned into comics by Toma Pan (Serbia), Nenad Velickovic’s (Bosnia and Herzegovina) One Life is drawn by Irena Jukij-Pranjic (Croatia) and Aida Secic’s (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Irfan’s Guitar is illustrated by Vladimir Palibrk (Serbia). The comics works will be translated into different East European languages and submitted for free publication to high-quality popular magazines.

The first publications already appeared in Vreme (Serbia), Nova Literatura (Romania) and Samandal (Lebanon), while others are on the way, for example in Literatura (Slovenia).

To experience a step-by-step account of the project’s development, check out sample works, meet the artists involved, see photos from the workshops in Beirut and Sofia, watch the promotion film or simply get involved by drawing something for us, visit the comiXculture’s updated web page at www.comiXculture.org

For any questions, suggestions or inquiries do not hesitate to write to comix@npage.org

The Long Tale of My Grandma and the Wild Swans

When launching the Our Stories initiative, Next Page was determined to escape the “exotic” flavor of many minority projects by striving for wider outreach of its book production. Now we know that we have succeeded, given the (unexpectedly) high interest in Tossen Ramar’s My Grandma and the Wild Swans, which has continued to rise for almost a year now. This contemporary tale is equally appreciated by minority and majority audiences. What is more, it has opened space for meaningful discussions. Last but not least, the book turns out to have various practical applications.

Over the last month, Next Page was happy to respond to requests by different organizations and to donate more than 100 free copies of the book in both Romani and Bulgarian languages. Free copies went to the school libraries in the towns of Kyustendil and Montana, as part of initiatives celebrating February 21, UNESCO’s International Mother Language day. The author of the book was invited to take part in Kyustendil’s celebration and to meet with local students. Simultaneously, copies of My Grandma and the Wild Swans were donated to Diverse and Equal Association, which works for Roma integration by developing professional training programs. Tossen Ramar’s book will be used as extracurricular material in the training of pre-school teachers from the Botevgrad region on skills for working in a multicultural environment.