Vesna Kurilić, the award-winning author of Izazov krvi, a Croatian YA novel about a female-dominated werewolf pack from Gorski kotar set in the 19th century, has won the city of Rijeka literary grant for the third installment of her werewolf saga. I am ecstatic! For her, and for me: this could not have come at a more opportune time to put some wind into my own pollen-ridden sails, just as I am about to dive in into the edits of the sequel to Izazov krvi, set in the same werewolf world
I have always loved stories about werewolves, even when they were done in such a way to frighten the hell out of me, like Cat People (1982) or The Company of Wolves (1981) did. Yeah, there was no concept of content rating where I lived when I was a kid, and I got to watch everything. Luckily, later on there was 1985, and it brought Teen Wolf and Silver Bullet to make me forget the nightmares.
Some time even later, I watched An American Werewolf in Paris (1981), I think maybe in some sort of a film workshop I might have hated enough to make me block it almost entirely, other than the film itself. I loved it and its moodiness. I was adulting for a while when I fell in love with Teen Wolf, the TV show.
In between films, I spent an inordinate number of hours binge-reading all the werewolf series I could find. Most recently, last month, in fact, a re-read of the excellent Kitty Norville series which has stood the test of time quite well. And now I get to do it as an editor and that totally makes my day. And week. Possibly, year.
And the author gets to have her work supported through a grant. Like Australia, and a lost of mid list authors in the English speaking world, writers in Croatia do not make a living writing fiction. I run a business, many authors freelance as translators and journalists, or have day jobs as teachers, engineers, psychologists, dentists or programmers. Vesna is a librarian. And a cosplayer. And a blogger – check out Skirts ‘n’ Wolves.
Even in Croatia, for all of its many failings, (and there are many!), there are some things done right and lit grants directly to authors is one of them. I just love that there is public money that can be used to support writing.
I also love that this money can go to feminist, queer writing about werewolves in Croatia. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (Now to see about finding some funds for a translation of Izazov krvi into English).