Monday, 20 September 2021

A novel by Canadian-Croatian writer Katarina Pejaković presented at Matica

A novel by Canadian-Croatian writer Katarina Pejaković presented at Matica

The bilingual edition of the novel “Angel” was presented by the writer Anita Martinac, the president of the UV CHF Milan Kovač, Sanja Pažin on behalf of the publisher, the reviewer Anto Pranjkić and the author

The bilingual edition of the novel “Angel,” organized by the Croatian Heritage Foundation and the Kerigma-Pia Publishing House, was presented on September 17 this year in the Great Hall of the Croatian Heritage Foundation.

Welcoming remarks were made by the CHF Director, Professor Mijo Marić. Also addressed the presents, on behalf of the Central State Office for Croats Outside the Republic of Croatia, Croatiana Gregurić, an advisor with a special position on Croatian emigration issues. Next addressed the audience an envoy of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, and the President of the Parliamentary Committee for Croats Outside the Republic of Croatia Mrs. Zdravka Bušić.

Representatives of the novel spoke about the novel: the writer from Mostar Anita Martinac, the president of the UV CHF Milan Kovač, Sanja Pažin on behalf of the publisher, the reviewer Anto Pranjkić and the author. Vesna Kukavica was the editor of the Croatian Emigrant Anthology. The vocal-instrumental ensemble "Gavrani" of a returnee family of musicians from Australia took care of the appropriate musical framework of the program by processing several popular hits.

It is a great honor for me to greet you all as the director of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, on the occasion of the promotion of the new book by Katarina Pejaković from Canada. The Croatian community there is one of our most active emigrant organizations in the world.

Canada belongs to the group of the most economically developed countries in the world with an exemplary parliamentary democracy, which was among the first to recognize the Republic of Croatia. It is the result of the efforts of our people who live in Canada, among whom was the writer Pejaković. Congratulations once again to the author and publisher Kerigma - Pia, said, among other things, director Marić.

Along with many distinguished returnees from emigration, members of the Zagreb academic community and associates on numerous Matica projects, the promotion was also attended by the National Director of Pastoral Care for Croats Abroad, Dr. Tomislav Markić, Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman Ivan Marić and Envoy of the Canadian Ambassador to Croatia His Excellency Alan Bowman, Mrs. Ida Mahečić Bajović.

In her presentation, the promoter Anita Martinac said: "This novel -" Angel "- is more than a expressed love for the homeland of the Croats, because the author, nurturing the historical truth, is carefully watching the future. It awakens the reader by recalling the last two wars, describing events at sites related to the characters of the novel, although the same image can be replicated in the entire area where Croats lived.

It describes the Second World War and the genocide of Croats from Kupres (BIH), and the suffering and horrors that Croats endured in defense of the author's native Osijek during the Homeland War. Especially significant is the description of the life challenges of the Catholic population in the totalitarian communist regime in the period after the Second World War until the seventies of the last century until the Croatian Spring.

Three waves of emigration, in 1945, after the massacre and persecution of Croats, from 1965 to 1970 as a result of poor communist economic policy, and after the Croatian Spring again arrests, intimidation, persecution, and the third wave of emigrants.

All this was carried out with the intention of exterminating Croats, because apart from the fact that such a policy was carried out within the state borders, it was even more obvious to act through Yugoslav diplomacy and the secret service, forcing people to declare themselves Yugoslavs and not Croats. To endure so much suffering and then have to prove the truth again is an even greater pain. But, from the greatest pain, the most beautiful love is born ", concluded the promoter Martinac, warmly recommending the novel to the readers.

The author of the presented novel is the Croatian poet and journalist Katarina Pejaković (Dalj, 1953), who has lived in Canada since 1969. She graduated in political science from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and has worked publicly in Croatian organizations. She is the founder and long-time editor of the Croatian television program in Toronto and the Croatian radio program in Vancouver.

She writes emigrant lyrics with special love and publishes them in numerous Croatian emigrant media. He writes songs, stories, articles and plays for children in Croatian and English, and publishes his works in Hrvatska revija, Hrvatica and Hrvatsko kalendar and other emigrant magazines. In the Library of the Croatian Review she published a collection of poems "Lonely Travelers" (Barcelona, 1989), and in Zagreb in 1994 a book of essays "Ten Commandments of Love" (Naklada Meandar), and in 2006 the poetry collection "Shadow in the Eye" (HKZ - Hrvatsko slovo).

Her novel "Angel" is a stylistically readable contemporary, autobiographical prose, published in Croatian and English, and covers about two hundred pages. The idea for the novel originated during the Homeland War, on the occasion of a lecture at a Canadian high school, where the student was particularly impressed by the story of an angel from a Christmas card she received from a dissident uncle.

This is how the short story "Paper Angel" was created, published in Storyteller, Canada's Short Story Magazine - which was chosen as the best story of the year in 1993. In her latest work, in her mature years, she returns to traditional prayers.

The reminiscences of the novel cover the narrator's displacement and homeland, her wanderings around the world from her native Slavonia through Toronto and Ottawa to Vancouver on the west coast of Canada, but also the cradle of her mother, Marica Pejaković née Smoljan, to whom she dedicates the novel. "Angel" can be recognized as an inspiring realistic novel for young people, but also read as an excellent intergenerational novel since it points to the transgenerational trauma of the Croatian peasantry.

After many nice words and mutual thanks, praise to the author and the work on the promotion, let's say a thought, a lesson of this self-denying writer who continues to write in search of the truth.

"There are only two types of writers: one encourages the reader to think and the other to dream," said English writer Brian Wilson Aldiss (1925-2017). I hope, said Katarina Pejaković in one of her interviews after the publication of this novel, that I belong to the first category because I believe that writers and poets must be the conscience of their people. It is up to them to warn, warn and point out the need for change.

Text: Diana Shimurina-Showfek

Photos: Snježana Radoš

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Roman kanadsko-hrvatske književnice Katarine Pejaković predstavljen u Matici

Roman kanadsko-hrvatske književnice Katarine Pejaković predstavljen u Matici

Dvojezično izdanje romana “Anđeo” predstavili su književnica Anita Martinac, predsjednik UV HMI-ja Milan Kovač, Sanja Pažin u ime nakladnika, recenzent Anto Pranjkić i autorica

Dvojezično izdanje romana “Anđeo,” u organizaciji Hrvatske matice iseljenika i Nakladničke kuće Kerigma-Pia, predstavljeno je 17. rujna ove godine u velikoj dvorani Hrvatske matice iseljenika. Pozdravnu riječ izrekao je ravnatelj HMI-ja profesor Mijo Marić, u ime Središnjeg državnog ureda za Hrvate izvan Republike Hrvatske prisutnima se obratila Croatiana Gregurić, savjetnica s posebnim položajem za pitanja hrvatskog iseljeništva, ujedno i izaslanica Vlade Republike Hrvatske, a potom i predsjednica saborskog Odbora za Hrvate izvan Republike Hrvatske Zdravka Bušić. 

O romanu su govorili predstavljači: književnica iz Mostara Anita Martinac, predsjednik UV HMI-ja Milan Kovač, Sanja Pažin u ime nakladnika, recenzent Anto Pranjkić i autorica. Umješna voditeljica programa bila je urednica Hrvatskoga iseljeničkoga zbornika Vesna Kukavica. Za prigodni glazbeni okvir programu pobrinuo se, obradom više popularnih hitova, Vokalno instrumentalni sastav „Gavrani“ povratničke obitelji glazbenika iz Australije.

Velika mi je čast da vas sve skupa mogu pozdraviti kao ravnatelj Hrvatske matice iseljenika, prigodom promocije nove knjige autorice Katarine Pejaković iz Kanade. Hrvatska zajednica ondje jedna je od naših najaktivnijih iseljeničkih organizacija u svijetu. 

Kanada pripada skupini gospodarski najrazvijenijih država svijeta s uzornom parlamentarnom demokracijom, koja je među prvima priznala Republiku Hrvatsku. Rezultat je to zalaganja naših ljudi koji žive u Kanadi, među kojima je bila i književnica Pejaković. Još jednom čestitam autorici i nakladniku Kerigma - Pia, rekao je, među inim, ravnatelj Marić.

Promociji je uz mnoge ugledne povratnike iz iseljeništva, članove akademske zajednice Zagreba i suradnike na brojnim Matičinim projektima nazočio i nacionalni ravnatelj Dušobrižništva za Hrvate u inozemstvu, dr. Tomislav Markić, izaslanik ministra vanjskih poslova Gordana Grlića Radmana Ivan Marić i izaslanica Veleposlanika Kanade u RH NJ. E. Alana Bowmana gospođa Ida Mahečić Bajović.

Promotorica Anita Martinac je u svom izlaganju ocijenila: „Ovaj roman – „Anđeo“ – više je od iskazane ljubavi prema domovini Hrvata, jer autorica njegujući povijesnu istinu brižno pazi na budućnost. Osvješćuje čitatelja podsjećajući na dva posljednja rata, opisujući događaje na lokalitetima vezanim za likove romana, mada se ista slika može preslikati na cjelokupni prostor gdje su živjeli Hrvati. 

Opisuje Drugi svjetski rat i genocid nad Hrvatima s Kupresa (BIH), te patnju i strahote koje su Hrvati podnijeli u obrani autoričina rodnoga Osijeka tijekom Domovinskoga rata.   Posebno je značajan opis o životnim izazovima katoličkog pučanstva u totalitarnom komunističkom režimu u periodu poraća druge svjetske kataklizme pa sve do sedamdesetih prošloga stoljeća do Hrvatskog proljeća. 

Tri iseljenička vala , i to 1945., nakon masovnog pokolja i progona Hrvata, dalje od 1965. do 1970. kao posljedica loše komunističke gospodarske politike, a nakon Hrvatskog proljeća opet ponovna hapšenja, zastrašivanja, progon, pa nastupa treći iseljenički val. 

Sve se to provodilo s nakanom istrebljenja Hrvata, jer osim što se takva politika provodila u državnim granicama, još je očitije bilo djelovanje putem jugo-diplomacije i tajnom službom, tjerajući ljude da se izjašnjavaju kao jugoslaveni a ne Hrvati. Podnijeti toliku patnju , a nakon toga opet morati dokazivati istinu  još je veća bol.  No, iz najvećeg bola se rađa najljepša ljubav“, zaključila je promotorica Martinac, preporučivši toplo roman čitateljima.

Autorica predstavljenog romana hrvatska je pjesnikinja i novinarka Katarina Pejaković ( Dalj, 1953.) koja u Kanadi živi od 1969. godine. Na University of British Columbia u Vancouveru diplomirala političke znanosti, a javno je djelovala u hrvatskim organizacijama. Utemeljiteljica je i dugogodišnja urednica hrvatskog televizijskog programa u Torontu i hrvatskog radijskog programa u Vancouveru. 

S posebnom ljubavlju piše iseljeničku liriku i objavljuje u brojnim hrvatskim iseljeničkim glasilima. Piše na hrvatskome i engleskome jeziku pjesme, priče, članke i igrokaze za djecu, a svoje radove objavljuje u Hrvatskoj reviji, Hrvatici i Hrvatskom kalendaru i ostalim iseljeničkim časopisima. U Knjižnici Hrvatske revije objavila je pjesničku zbirku „Samotni putnici“ (Barcelona, 1989), a u Zagrebu 1994. knjigu eseja „Deset zapovijedi ljubavi“ (Naklada Meandar). a 2006. pjesničku zbirku „Sjena u oku“ (HKZ – Hrvatsko slovo).

Njen roman „Anđeo“ stilski je čitka suvremena, autobiografska proza, objavljen na hrvatskome i engleskome jeziku, a opseže dvjestotinjak stranica. Ideja romana nastala je još tijekom Domovinskog rata, prigodom književničina predavanja u jednoj kanadskoj srednjoj školi, gdje se učenika posebno dojmila priča o anđelu s jedne božićne čestitke koju je primila od ujaka disidenta. 

Tako je nastala kratka priča „Paper Angel“, objavljena u časopisu Storyteller, Canada’s Short Story Magazine – koja je izabrana za najbolju priču godine 1993. Književnica se i u svom najnovijem djelu, u zrelim godinama, vraća višeslojnoj metafori anđela, bogatome poetskome svijetu iz dječje tradicijske molitvice. 

Reminiscencije u romanu zahvaćaju izmještenost i zavičajnost naratorice, njena lutanja svijetom  od rodne Slavonije preko Toronta i Ottawe do Vancouvera na zapadnoj obali Kanade, ali i kupreške kolijevke svoje majke, Marice Pejaković rođene Smoljan, kojoj roman i posvećuje. „Anđeo“ može biti prepoznat kao inspirativan realistični roman za mlade, ali i čitan  kao odličan međugeneracijski roman budući ukazuje na transgeneracijsku traumu hrvatskoga selilaštva.

Nakon mnogih lijepih riječi i međusobnih zahvala, pohvala autorici i djelu na promociji, izrecimo i misao, pouku ove samozatajne književnice koja nastavlja pisati u potrazi za istinom.

„Postoje samo dvije vrste pisaca: jedni potiču čitatelja na razmišljanje, a drugi na sanjarenje“, kazao je engleski pisac Brian Wilson Aldiss ( 1925. – 2017.). Nadam se, izjavila je Katarina Pejaković u jednom od svojih intervjua nakon izlaska ovoga romana, da pripadam prvoj kategoriji jer držim da pisci i pjesnici moraju biti savjest svog naroda. Na njima je opominjati, upozoravati i ukazivati na potrebu za promjenama.

Tekst: Diana Šimurina-Šoufek

Fotografije: Snježana Radoš

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Wednesday, 1 September 2021

In memory of the Academician Stjepan Babić (1925-2021)


The clear spirit of the Croatian language

Academician Stjepan Babić (Oriovac, November 29, 1925 - Zagreb, August 27, 2021) left a great work permanently woven into the language culture of the Croatian people and Slavistic literature. He has collaborated with the world's leading linguists of his time, including our linguists in exile.

Text: Vesna Kukavica

Photo: HMI-FCE Archive

One of the most important Croatian linguists, Academician Stjepan Babić, a full member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, died in Zagreb at the age of 96. He was born on November 29. 1925 in Oriovac, studying in his hometown, Osijek and Zagreb, and perfecting himself throughout Europe.

He has been a full professor throughout his working life at the Zagreb Faculty of Philosophy, defending his doctorate at the parent university, training generations of Croatian language teachers.

Since 1977 he is an associate member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and since 1991 full member at the Department of Philological Sciences.

He was editor of “Jezik” magazine from 1963, and from 1970 to 2005 he was editor-in-chief, member of the Main Board of Matica hrvatska (1989-1992) and member of the Croatian Philological Society and its Presidency.

From 1993 to 1997 he was a member of the Chamber of Regions (Zupanias) of the Sabor (Parliament) of the Republic of Croatia elected in the county of Brod-Posavina. He participated as a polyglot of scholarly education in numerous scientific congresses and slavistic congresses in the country and abroad.

He was awarded the highest scientific and state awards of the Republic of Croatia - the “Bartol Kašić” Prize for his significant scientific activity in the field of social sciences and humanities in the field of the study of the Croatian literary language (1991), the "Order of Danica hrvatska with the figure of Ruđer Bošković" for his special merits in science (1995), the "Commemorative Medal of Gratitude of the Fatherland" for honorable and exemplary service over a period of five years (1995), the “Order of Ante Starčević” (1996) and the State Award for his life work (2004).

Academician Stjepan Babić dealt mainly with the problems of contemporary Croatian literary language, especially word formation.

His complete bibliography includes more than a thousand bibliographic elements. During the Croatian Spring of 1971, together with academics Milan Moguš and Božidar Fink, he drew up the "Croatian Spelling-Hrvatski pravopis", which was destroyed in 1971 for political reasons after printing, and was reprinted in London in 1972, for tha treason the smuggled work is known in history as the "London" edition.

The complete Croatian Spelling (Hrvatski pravopis) was first printed in 1990, after which it was published several times.


According to linguists, in the most challenging period in the development of the Croatian literary language, from the end of World War II to the proclamation of the independent and sovereign Republic of Croatia, the linguist Stjepan Babić proved to be a scientist at the height of the goal of standardization and the most complete description of the Croatian language.

More than other linguists in the homeland, despite the danger, he restored human dignity to the persecuted Croatian writers in exile.

This serene scholar was a brave and honest man, so he worked fearlessly for years with the leading linguists of his day during the world divide of the Cold War, including Croatian linguists in exile who taught at the most prestigious universities in the West , from the French Sorbonne, several German universities, Sweden, England, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Venezuela to Australia, in whose faculties experts such as Branko Franolić, Vinko Grubišić, Anthony Knežević, Christopher Spalatin and Luka Budak taught, as well as also by priests linguists such as Karl Kosor, Jeronim Šetka, Gracijan Biršić and others.

Stjepan Babić is precisely the mainstay of Croatian linguistic studies, whose intellectual force united emigrated Croatia and homeland in the early 1970s, in the same way that Tuđman united the Croatians before the fall of the Wall of Berlin

Academician Babić gave lectures, printed spelling and grammar manuals among our emigrants and wrote articles for the Croatian press in exile from Nikolić's cultured “Croatian Review-Hrvatska Revija”, “Studia Croatica” edited in Argentina, to the esteemed American magazine "Journal of Croatian Studies" directed by Mirth and Jareb, writing about linguistic culture (outside the ideological framework chained by the so-called “Croatian silence”) and encouraging migrants to establish independent Croatian language centres and departments in the 1980s in Australia and Canada, and other migrant destinations in Western democracies who wanted to teach their children their mother tongue, whose name could not even be pronounced in the Homeland, and could only be named in variants of the two-part Yugoslav name Croatian-Serbian.

Contrary to the claims of the time of the communist regime, no major differences were noted in attitudes and views on the development of the Croatian literary language in the second half of the 20th century between Croatian linguistics in the homeland and in the emigrant and their main referents.

Acting in synergy, despite the stereotype of the so-called “ustasha spelling”, the aforementioned Croatian linguists experienced the realization of their life's dream, centred on the affirmation of the Croatian language in the homeland and in the international community.

The copies prohibited in the Homeland of the "Croatian Spelling - Hrvatski pravopis" by Babić, Finka and Moguš from 1971 and the "Revision of the grammar of the Croatian literary language - Pregled grammatike hrvatskoga književnog jezika" by Stjepan Babić and Stjepko Težak (1973 ), were published in thousands of copies by Kušan's “Nova Hrvatska” magazine in London, reaching all Croatian households in the Free West, a decade before the “Croatian Spelling” could be found on the shelves of Croatia.

The beginning of the 1970s, after all the tests caused by the publication of the “Declaration” through which the Croatian language passed, brings a new perspective and renewed strength in the struggle to preserve the uniqueness of the Croatian literary language, in which the role of Stjepan Babić is invaluable.

The crown of Babić's scientific achievements is "The formation of words in the Croatian literary language" (1986), which is published as a capital project of the so-called "Great Croatian Grammar" of the Academy (HAZU), alongside the "Syntax of the Literary Language" by Radoslav Katičić, while in the field of linguistic lexicography began the publication of the "Dictionary of the Croatian Literary Language from the Croatian Renaissance to Ivan Goran Kovačić" by Julij Benešić.

As the culmination of this effort by the Academy, the first complete Croatian phonetics is published, ie the “Historical Review, Voices and Forms of the Croatian Literary Language” by Stjepan Babić and Ivo Škarić and associates (1991).


In addition to major philological books, Babić has published hundreds of articles and discussions in national and foreign Croatian and Slavistic journals and anthologies, mainly on contemporary Croatian language and orthography as well as on the history of the language.

He also wrote on Croatian literature and prepared editions of the oldest Slavonian writers. Professor Stjepan Babić collaborated with the Croatian Emigration Foundation on the magazine “Matica”, as well as the “Anthology of Croatian Emigrants” with valuable philological articles. As a textbook and manual writer, Stjepan Babić has permanently indebted many generations and has indelibly marked the culture of the Croatian language.