To mark the occasion of the holiday Prešeren Day, Minister of Foreign Affairs Anže Logar donated the book I Saw Her That Night by Drago Jančar, one of the most renowned and most widely translated contemporary Slovenian authors, to the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps in Slovenia, the Apostolic Nuncio to Slovenia, Archbishop Jean-Marie Speich, at Strmol Castle.
For his creative literary work and for enriching both Slovenian and world literature and promoting Slovenia’s reputation in the world, Drago Jančar received the highest Slovenian award, the Honorary Badge of Freedom, in 2003. He has also received numerous Slovenian and international literary awards, including the Prešeren Lifetime Achievement Award (1993), the European Short Story Prize of the City of Arnsberg, Germany (1994), the Premio Hemingway prize in Lignano (2009), and the Premio Mediterraneo award in Consenza.
The novel I Saw Her That Night presents to the reader a broader picture of the World War II period. In the story, five protagonists describe the disappearance of Veronika, a young woman from Ljubljana’s bourgeois society. She and her husband are known to the reader only indirectly, through the narratives of other characters. This is currently the most notable Slovenian novel in Europe, finally installing Jančar as a contemporary European classic and a serious candidate for the Nobel Prize. The novel touches on a difficult and traumatic historical theme, but without pretentious moralising. This is, perhaps, what makes it so convincing. We simply must not put history behind us if we want to live in harmony. Human dignity must remain the cornerstone of European culture and society.
Upon handing over the book to the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps and Apostolic Nuncio in Slovenia, Jean-Marie Speich, Minister Logar outlined the story of the novel, which takes place at Strmol Castle.