Serbian Month in Great Britain is organised and hosted by the Serbian Council in the UK, offering a range of Serbian cultured events from: music to art, drama to sports and film to folk dancing. All of which could not have happened at a more convinent time for our research project. However, the event that we took significant interest in was, ‘An Evening with acclaimed Serbian Writer Uroš Petović Reading Serbian School and Serbian Council of Great Britain’. This event was to take place in both London and Reading on the 6th – 7th February, making this a very last minute opportunity for us to take up apon, as I had only found out about Serbian Month earlier in that same week. Nethertheless other members of the group along with myself felt that this was something we should take advanatge off and decided to attend this event in Reading.
The first thing we decided was who would be attending this event and be representing our group. As Petović is an accliamed writer and the first author to have his novel turned into the first 3D film in Serbia it made sense and was of particular interest for Rajinder, Harpreet and myself. We all knew that we wanted to gain as much information possible and take advantage of this event to the best of our ability therefore, we emailed the woman in charge of hosting this particular event to ask if it would be possible to interview Petović and any of the other staff working the event. To our surprise she emailed back almost immediatly expressing her gratitude that we wanted to attend the event and expressed that it would be a pleasure for us to interview Petović.
In preperation for our interview the three of us set about conducting research into Petović’s biography, his work and awards so that we could write constructive interview questions. Petović is best known for his writing of childrens horror and mystery novels. He was the first author to write for the children’s horror genre in Serbia and has most recently (December 2014) had one of his books, The Fifth Butterfly, turned into the first 3D film in Serbia. Petović has won many awards for his novels, the most recent ones being: Rade Obrenovic Award, Best Children’s Novel (2013) ‘Children Of Bestragija’. In addition to his writing Petović is a renouned photographer; Chairman of the Serbian Mensa (2008-2013) and founding member of the Menza World Photo Cup.
We arrived at the event about 15 minutes before it started so that we could get acquainted with the host and how the day was going to run. Mirjama greeted us at the door, explained the intinery and introduced us to Petović. Within moments of meeting Petović he had handed us the magazine ‘Metropol’ 2012 edition, containing a 30 page spread interview on him and his work. Although he did not clearly explain why he had handed this to us we gathered that it was so that we could understand his answering style and to see the questions he had been asked in the past.
Unbeknown to us everyone at the event knew exactly who we were and was egar to talk to us to find out why we were so interested, in what was to them, a small cultural serbia community event. The events were delivered mainly in Serbian however, everytime there was a new section of the itinery starting we were officially informed and it was delievered in English. Along with Petović’s The first event of the day was delivered by the children, a short play based upon animals, again following the comedic route (from what we can gather) accompanied with Serbia music, preformed by themselves.
Our next adventure for the day was Petović’s workshop. The teacher of the school, where the event was being held, explained what was going on whilst Petović was delivering his workshop. Petović is known for his love of riddles and this was a major part of his work today. Although we could not understand what was being said for the majority of the time the childrens and audiences laugher responce made it clear that Petović is a very comedic and well recieved man. The laughter in the room made all three of us still enjoy this workshop.
Petović was selling a variety of his books at this event, unfortunatly none printed in english, and we were lucky enough to get to disucss with the seller about Petović’s sense of humor. She expressed that he is a very philosophical man who loves to get people thinking in order to solve his riddels. She further developed her explanaton by explaining that Petović has a brilliant sense of humor that entices the audeince in. The conclusion that we drew upon after these two displays was that laughter is a big part of Serbia Culture. In fact it appeared similr to ours, sarcastic.
The interview with Petović was our last event for the day but unfortunatly was cut short. We will be continuing this interview at a later date. All interview information will be posted in a seperate post.
We had the chance to interact and talk to other guests throughout the day. We found it especially beneficial when talking to Lazic as he recommened a Serbian film that we should watch before visiting Serbia and in helping benefit our research project, Cinema Komunisto.
The day was not only successful in starting the initial interview with Petović but we also managed to secure further contact details from other Serbian people working at the event. These include the man filming the event, the teachers son (who works for the BBC) and Petović’s personal contact information too, so that we can continue with the interview over email or skype.
Charlotte, Rajinder and Harpreet.