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Review 5.18: The Magic Ring, by author: Peter Svetina

Held at the Viva Mall Shuangjing.
Author: Peter Svetina
Book: The Magic Ring
Time: 15:00 – 16:00pm
Date: 18-05-2019

Second event
The event began with an introduction of author. The author, Peter Svetina said he hailed from a small country in Europe called Slovenia. He mentioned that the country had a population of approximately two million and stated that comparing that number with Beijing, his country had very few people. Peter mentioned that he was married, with two children; a boy who is twenty and a girl who is sixteen years old.
Peter is an opera lover. In his introduction, he declares how his love for Opera and his mother’s love for Opera also inspired the story. He stated that he was a teacher in a university in Austria and that he teaches Literature.
Peter’s book, “The Magic Ring” was about a young girl who is charmed by a ring she sees in the market. She is drawn by the beauty and extra-ordinariness of this ring among many ordinary things that the seller has. The little girl buys the ring but as she is ready to slip the ring on her finger, she meets the surprise of her life. The ring slips and falls on the ground and the rest of the story revolves around a chase for this magic ring and many tremendous encounters that are going to change the life of this little girl altogether.
Peter’s writing combines an array of themes and uses the unpredictability of a seemingly chaotic scenario to a victorious end that mesmerizes the readers at the end of the book reading session. Instead of sitting at the table provided him to read, Peter requested that all the children gathered and sat on the little colorful cards placed at the center of the room where he also joined them, flipping each page and going through the book, page by page, meticulously with the children as the parents delightfully enjoyed the reading of the story.
The audience’s reception of the story was impressive as there was a resounding applause to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of this interesting masterpiece. Again, guests were thrilled at Peter’s meticulous delivery and total warmth he provided to his primary guests, the children, while reading.
The next activity at this event was a question session which was very engaging. Questions came from parents who attended the event as well as from the main translator who engaged Peter in an interview while still taking the audience’s questions.
The children were asked if they had ever written anything in their lives. A seven-year-old mentioned that he had written but only in class for his teacher. Another girl mentioned that she had written about spring before.
The translator then asked Peter what he would write about spring if he had the chance to. Peter said:
“I would write that I am walking along the river with his child, dog and listening to birds and looking to green flowers and the green leaves on the trees”. He also described how reading a book could be paralleled to watching a movie. For him, he liked to imagine and visualize the scenes when he writes.
A parent also asked Peter two questions:
She welcomed him to China and mentioned that she was a parent to one of the boys who participated in the event. She further wanted to know how she as a parent could get her child to instill the habit of reading and then asked Peter how he was able to sustain his love for reading and writing up until this age.
Peter explained that from his early childhood, two books one which was an Encyclopedia of Dogs and another which was centered on the Translation of Old Chinese poetry from different dynasties had a major influence on him. His father and mother both studies literature and language and their house was filled up with books, about four thousands of them. His brother was a psychologist and does not read a lot. Peter began to read comics in primary school and then later he began to ‘eat’ books and read a whole lot and then he translated literature in Slovene.
He began to teach in the university and began to write for himself. Then after he began to write for children he said that if he ever wrote, he will write for children, but he always saw himself as a teacher and not necessarily as a writer.
Peter advised in response to the question of how to get children to read, that, parents should themselves be role models as children are more likely to pick these habits from children. He mentioned that although he loved to read tons of books, both his children are not that much of avid readers, but they always see him read. He encouraged parents to show their children the habit of reading by reading books themselves. The parents were intrigued by Peter’s answer.
Peter also shared his experience in China so far with the audience. He mentioned that this was his first time in China. This was because he had long legs and preferred not to sit in uncomfortable seats of airplanes for hours and hours travelling. He commended Chinese people greatly on their use of technology and the warmth and kindness they had shown him so far in his visit to China. He mentioned that people had preconceived notions of China as they said the people were very different from other parts of the world, but he has so far been treated with much politeness and friendliness.
The event ended with a photo session with the children and parents and the guests interacted with Peter. It closed at 16:00 exactly.
Report by
Robert Chireboah-AnsaH