I love Istria in the spring, and I especially love Pazin in the spring, and not only because of Istrakon. The biggest Croatian peninsula is truly magical and I am at great pains today trying to decide which of my favourite places there I can squeeze into a very tight schedule since I am not leaving for the con today.
The Istrakon program is up, and it looks pretty nice. I will, alas, miss Friday to hang out in Zagreb with a childhood friend who happens to be passing through on that evening. And I will be missing the storytelling item by Srebrenka Peregrin, whose workshops and storytelling sessions I have been trying to take part in for years. This year, I even invited her to a panel in an attempt to not be scheduled against her! And failed yet again, as her Istrian Stories are happening on Friday evening.
My panel, however, is still on: Saturday, 14:00, Mala Koncertna Dvorana, Dragons.
I will be moderating the panel, with three awesome Croatian authors on it. Antonija Mežnarić, a young writer from Rijeka who is preparing a lecture on dragons, maidens and power in stories for this year’s SFeraKon and who, I suspect, might know a bit more about dragons than me, Srebrenka Peregrin, and Maya Starling, a Croatian author writing in English who wrote and published a fantasy novel series with dragons.
There cannot be an Istrakon – whose visual identity is a dragon as is one of the awards it gives to fandom members – without dragons. The Istrian Festival of Fantastic Literature, started by the same people who launched Istrakon 20 years ago, had an anthology dedicated to dragons, Priče o zmajevima, (Dragon Stories) a few years ago and there are many local dragon legends, too, as well as a dragon town, Draguć.
Also, Croatian SF writer Melina Benini was at the Pazin Hiža od besid (House of Words) for a month long writing retreat when she wrote Zmajska zora (Dragon Dawn), a novel of dragons, Istria and surviving war. Milena is unable to attend Istrakon this year – otherwise she would take part in the panel! – but we might be giving away a copy of Zmajska gora during the panel. And of some other books, too. 🙂
Other than the panel, I have no other official item programs, but I am planning to attend the Writer’s Playroom workshop by Maya and the GoH items. And to sit and have coffee with lots of people I have not seen in ages.