Peter Svetina

Peter Svetina


Peter Svetina was born in 1970 in Ljubljana. In 1995 he graduated in Slovenian Studies and defended his PhD thesis on Old Slovenian Poetry in 2001 (both at Faculty for Arts, University Ljubljana, Slovenia). He is an associate professor for Slavic literature at the Institute for Slavic languages, Alpen-Adria University, Klagenfurt, Austria. He writes for children, young adults and adults, but his work often crosses the borders between different target audiences and can be read as crossover literature. His literary debut was a picture book called The Walrus who Didn’t Want to Cut his Nails (1999), which soon served as the basis for a puppet play, a path later followed by many of his works (e.g. Mr. Constantine’s Hat). His books for children and youth have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Korean, Polish, Latvian, Estonian, and Lithuanian. Svetina’s works often play with occurrences and images from his everyday life. They reflect not only his home town of Ljubljana and the destinations of his travels, but also his scholarly interests – Svetina’s scientific research is focused on old Slovenian poetry, children’s and youth literature (especially its socially and politically directed transformation after World War II), and detective novels. He translates poetry and children’s literature from English, German, Croatian, and Czech and works as an editor for poetry collections and literature textbooks for primary school. His books have received some of the most prestigious national and international awards and are immensely popular among literary critics as well as young readers.

Hans Christian Andersen Award Nominee 2020 and 2022:

Peter Svetina was born in 1970 in Ljubljana. He studied Slovene Language and Literature at the University of Ljubljana, where he obtained a PhD in 2001 in early Slovenian Literature. Since 2007 he has been a lecturer at the University of Klagenfurt in Austria. He is an author of short stories, novels, picture books and poetry for children, young adults and adults. He also translates poetry and children’s literature from English, German, Croatian and Czech and works as an editor for poetry and literature textbooks. His writing includes both language play and real-life topics with a distinctive method of combining nonsense and realism. To date, he has published 20 books for children and young people. Three of his stories have been adapted for puppet shows and some poems and stories have also been translated into other languages. His children’s works include the picture book Klobuk gospoda Konstantina (Mr Constantine’s hat, 2007), winner of the Original Slovenian Picture Book Award in 2008; Modrost nilskih konjev (Hippopotamus wisdom, 2010), which won a Golden Pear Award, given by Pionirska and the Ljubljana City Library, and was included in the 2011 White Ravens collection; as well as Kako je Jaromir iskal srečo (How Jaromir sought happiness, 2010), Čudežni prstan (The magic ring, 2011), which was included in the 2013 White Ravens selection, Mrožek, mrožek (The little walrus, 2013) and the poetry collections Mimosvet (By-world, 2001), Pesmi iz pralnega stroja (Poems from the washing machine, 2006) and Domače naloge (Home works, 2014). Ropotarna (The lumber room) received the Golden Pear Award and the Večernica Award in 2013 and was included in the 2016 IBBY Honour List. Peter Svetina was nominated for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award and Ropotarna was included in the list of books highlighted by the Andersen Jury as an outstanding work.